The population structure of the rice blast fungus Pyricularia grisea was analyzed in two major rice-growing provinces of Iran using rep-PCR DNA fingerprinting. A total of 221 monoconidial isolates of the fungus was collected from 12 cultivars at ten regions during 1997-2000. Long-PCR conditions were used to amplify sequences lying between adjacent Pot2 elements. The frequencies of Pot2 lineages (isolates with greater than or equal to70% amplicon similarity) and haplotypes within lineages were determined. Phenetic analysis differentiated five Pot2 fingerprint lineages, designated A, B, C, D and E. The most common fingerprint group, Lineage E, was recovered from all rice cultivars sampled and was distributed throughout the region. Haplotype E6, the most common haplotype within lineage E, was recovered from almost all regions. Lineage A, the second most common lineage, was found mainly in the western part of the sampled region. Haplotype A1 was found in most sites in the western province. Lineage A occurred at relatively high frequency on the susceptible local cultivar Binam, suggesting that lineage A is specifically adapted to Binam. To test this hypothesis, 193 additional isolates were recovered from four fields at two sites separated by approximately 100 km. This second, field-specific collection of isolates contained lineages A, C, D, and E. Approximately 64% and 29% of the isolates recovered from Binam (the shared cv. at two sites) grouped into lineages A and E, respectively. The other two susceptible cultivars at these sites were infected by lineage E at frequencies of 100% and 71%. Overall, these data indicated a low level of genetic diversity in the Iranian P. grisea population similar to that reported in other countries.
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