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Abstract

Given human population growth and accelerated global trade, the rate of emergence of exotic plant pathogens is bound to increase. Understanding the processes that lead to the emergence of new pathogens can help manage emerging epidemics. Novel tools for analyzing population genetic variation can be used to infer the evolutionary history of populations or species, allowing for the unprecedented reconstruction of the demographic history of pathogens. Specifically, recent advances in the application of coalescent, maximum likelihood (ML), and Bayesian methods to population genetic data combined with increasing availability of affordable sequencing and parallel computing have created the opportunity to apply these methods to a broad range of questions regarding the evolution of emerging pathogens. These approaches are particularly powerful when used to test multiple competing hypotheses. We provide several examples illustrating how coalescent analysis provides critical insights into understanding migration pathways as well as processes of divergence, speciation, and recombination.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-phyto-072910-095246
2011-09-08
2024-04-20
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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