An evolutionary perspective of Pierce's disease of grapevine, citrus variegated chlorosis, and mulberry leaf scorch diseases
Xylella fastidiosa causes diseases on a growing list of economically important plants. An understanding of how xylellae diseases originated and evolved is important for disease prevention and management. In this study, we evaluated the phylogenetic relationships of X. fastidiosa strains from citrus, grapevine, and mulberry through the analyses of random amplified polymorphic DNAs (RAPDs) and conserved 16S rDNA genes. RAPP analysis emphasized the vigorous genome-wide divergence of X. fastidiosa and detected three clonal groups of strains that cause Pierce's disease (PP) of grapevine, citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC), and mulberry leaf scorch (MLS). Analysis of 16S rDNA sequences also identified the PD and CVC groups, but with a less stable evolutionary tree. MLS strains were included in the PD group by the 16S rDNA analysis. The Asiatic origins of the major commercial grape and citrus cultivars suggest the recent evolution of both PD and CVC disease in North and South America, respectively, since X. fastidiosa is a New World organism. In order to prevent the development of new diseases caused by X. fastidiosa, it is important to understand the diversity of X. fastidiosa strains, how strains of X. fastidiosa select their hosts, and their ecological roles in the native vegetation.