Fusarium proliferatum, F. subglutinans, and F. verticillioides are known causes of ear and kernel rot in maize worldwide. In Mexico, only F. verticillioides and F. subglutinans, have been reported previously as causal agents of this disease. However, Fusarium isolates with different morphological characteristics to the species that are known to cause this disease were obtained in the Highland-Valley region of this country from symptomatic and symptomless ears of native and commercial maize genotypes. Moreover, while the morphological studies were not sufficient to identify the correct taxonomic position at the species level, analyses based in the Internal Transcribed Spacer region and the Nuclear Large Subunit Ribosomal partial sequences allowed for the identification of F. subglutinans, F. solani, and F. verticillioides, as well as four species (F. chlamydosporum, F. napiforme, F. poae, and F. pseudonygamai) that had not previously been reported to be associated with ear rot. In addition, F. napiforme and F. solani were absent from symptomless kernels. Phylogenetic analysis showed genetic changes in F. napiforme, and F. pseudonygamai isolates because they were not true clones, and probably constitute separate sibling species. The results of this study suggest that the biodiversity of Fusarium species involved in ear rot in Mexico is greater than that reported previously in other places in the world. This new knowledge will permit a better understanding of the relationship between all the species involved in ear rot disease and their relationship with maize.
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