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Ecology and Evolution of the Grass-Endophyte Symbiosis$
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Gregory P. Cheplick and Stanley Faeth

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195308082

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195308082.001.0001

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Genotypic Specificity of Grass-Endophyte Interactions

Genotypic Specificity of Grass-Endophyte Interactions

(p.75) 4 Genotypic Specificity of Grass-Endophyte Interactions
Ecology and Evolution of the Grass-Endophyte Symbiosis

Gregory P. Cheplick

Stanley H. Faeth

Oxford University Press

For ongoing coevolution of the grass-endophyte symbiosis through the agents of natural selection, there must be genetic variation within populations for both host and endophyte. The breeding systems of both symbiotic partners influence the distribution and level of genetic variation within populations. Traditional reaction norms and symbiotic interaction norms can be useful in depicting host genotype interactions with environment and infection. Examples are provided for both agronomic and native grass-endophyte symbioses. Endophytes can also modulate phenotypic plasticity of their grass hosts in relation to environmental variation. There is evidence that endophyte genotypes (haplotypes) can differ significantly in their impact on host growth and physiology. Genetic diversity of endophyte isolates has been quantified using isozymes and DNA markers. Host-endophyte compatibility can vary among endophytes and their host grasses as revealed by reciprocal inoculation experiments using fungal isolates from different host populations or species. Multistrain infections of single grass hosts and fungal hybridization within individual hosts have been determined for some symbioses. Genetic variation in both host and endophyte will expedite the continued coevolution of the symbiosis.

Keywords:   endophyte genotype, fungal strains, fungal hybridization, genetic diversity, haplotype, host genotype, isolates, phenotypic plasticity, reaction norms

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