Seeing double on Cannabis: Haploids and heteroploids of Bipolaris gigantea on hemp and other dicots

Desiree Szarka, Nicole A. Gauthier, Mostafa Rahnama, Christopher L. Schardl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bipolaris gigantea (= Drechslera gigantea) causes Bipolaris leaf spot (BLS), a devastating and widespread disease on industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa). An investigation of relationships of isolates from hemp and other plants indicated variation in ploidy that has not previously been reported for Bipolaris. Isolates were obtained from BLS lesions on hemp and nearby weeds in 11 Kentucky counties and were similar to each other in morphology and growth characteristics. In total, 23 isolates were analyzed by multilocus phylogenetics, of which seven were also chosen for whole genome shotgun sequencing. Genes for RNA polymerase II subunit 2 (RPB2), translation elongation factor 1-α (TEF1), and mating type (MAT1) indicated that 13 of the isolates were haploid with only a single allele each of RPB2 and TEF1 and either the MAT1-1 or MAT1-2 idiomorph, whereas 10 were apparently “heteroploid” with two alleles each of RPB2 and TEF1 and both MAT1 idiomorphs. Haploids all had identical RPB2 alleles except for a 1-bp difference in two isolates, identical TEF1 alleles, and (if present) identical MAT1-2 alleles. Those alleles were also present in each heteroploid along with either of two related but distinct alleles for each gene. In contrast, haploids and heteroploids shared allelic variation of MAT1-1. In total, four haploid and two heteroploid genotypes were identified. Genome sequence data assembled to 30–32 Mb for each of four haploid isolates, but 10–31 Mb larger sizes for each of three heteroploids depending on sequencing platform and assembly program. The haploids and heteroploids caused similar disease on hemp.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-629
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Bipolaris leaf spot
  • diversity
  • hybrids
  • mating types
  • ploidy variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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