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https://doi. org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227250


Oomycete plant pathogens are difficult to control and routine genetic research is challeng- ing. A major problem is instability of isolates. Here we characterize >600 field and single zoospore isolates of Phytophthora capsici for inheritance of mating type, sensitivity to mefe- noxam, chromosome copy number and heterozygous allele frequencies. The A2 mating type was highly unstable with 26% of 241 A2 isolates remaining A2. The A1 mating type was stable. Isolates intermediately resistant to mefenoxam produced fully resistant single-spore progeny. Sensitive isolates remained fully sensitive. Genome re-sequencing of single zoo- spore isolates revealed extreme aneuploidy; a phenomenon dubbed Dynamic Extreme Aneuploidy (DEA). DEA is characterized by the asexual inheritance of diverse intra-genomic combinations of chromosomal ploidy ranging from 2N to 3N and heterozygous allele fre- quencies that do not strictly correspond to ploidy. Isolates sectoring on agar media showed dramatically altered heterozygous allele frequencies. DEA can explain the rapid increase of advantageous alleles (e.g. drug resistance), mating type switches and copy neutral loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Although the mechanisms driving DEA are unknown, it can play an important role in adaptation and evolution and seriously hinders all aspects of P. capsici research.

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