Genetic diversity in populations of the Pleurotus eryngii complex in Israel

Dalia Lewinsohn, Eviatar Nevo, Solomon P. Wasser, Yitzhak Hadar, Alexander Beharav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Random amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR) was used to assess the genetic diversity in twelve populations (a total of 144 isolates) of the Pleurotus eryngii complex, sampled in Israel. Our results show a higher level of diversity of RAPD polymorphism in the populations, especially in the drier, stressful climates. Twelve primers used in this study amplified 164 scorable RAPD loci, of which 163 (99.4%) were polymorphic and only 1 monomorphic. Out of the 164 loci, 123 (75%) varied significantly (P < 0.05) in allele frequencies among populations. This total proportion (75%) of significant polymorphic loci far exceeds the 5% level expected by chance (binomial test, P < 0.000001). The levels of polymorphism and gene diversity appeared to be highly significantly different between the populations. Sixty-eight per cent of the RAPD diversity was within populations and 32% was between populations. Inter-population genetic distances showed positive association with geographic distance, which was confirmed with spatial autocorrelation analysis of RAPD frequencies. Spearman rank correlation revealed a strong positive association between high polymorphism and the aridity index. In multiple regression, the coefficient of determination of polymorphism and gene diversity was explained by climatic variables linked to temperature and humidity. Our findings further demonstrate the validity of the 'environmental theory of genetic diversity' hypothesis within P. eryngii populations in Israel. We suggest that natural selection develops a high level of RAPD polymorphism as adaptation to cope with stressful and temporally heterogeneous environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-951
Number of pages11
JournalMycological Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Z. Lu and E. D. Owuor for technical assistance, T. Fahima and Y. Li for their discussions and contribution to the manuscript. We are grateful to G. Zervakis, E. Lewinsohn and Y. Tadmor, for useful comments and review of the manuscript. V. Kirzhner gave invaluable assistance with the cluster analysis, and M. Margulis with the photographs. David Shahak (Kibbutz Tirat Zvi) for invaluable help during sampling. This work was also supported by the Israel Discount Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology and the Ancell–Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution, and the Israel Science Foundation (9030}96).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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