Suspicions of two bridgehead invasions of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. multiplex in France

Of American origin, a wide diversity of Xylella fastidiosa strains belonging to different subspecies have been reported in Europe since 2013, and its discovery in Italian olive groves. Strains from the subspecies multiplex (ST6 and ST7) were first identified in France in 2015 in urban and natural areas. To trace back the most probable scenario of introduction in France, the molecular evolution rate of this subspecies was estimated at 3.2165 × 10-7 substitutions per site per year, based on heterochronous genome sequences collected worldwide. This rate allowed the dating of the divergence between French and American strains in 1987 for ST6 and in 1971 for ST7. The development of a new VNTR-13 scheme allowed tracing the spread of the bacterium in France, hypothesizing an American origin. Our results suggest that both sequence types were initially introduced and spread in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA); then, they were introduced in Corsica in two waves from the PACA bridgehead populations.

Dupas, E., Durand, K., Rieux, A. et al. Suspicions of two bridgehead invasions of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. multiplex in France. Commun Biol 6, 103 (2023). 

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