The present study describes the outputs of a collaborative research programme funded by the UK`s Department for International Development-Crop Protection Program to investigate the genetic (lineages) and pathogenic (pathotypes) diversity of the blast fungus populations and characterize the key sites suitable for resistance screening. Seventy-one Magnaporthe grisae isolates were collected from seven regions where rice is grown, representing blast populations in Ghana. Following molecular characterization, these isolates were grouped into four distinct lineages designated as GH-1, GH-2, GH-3 and GH-4 and 25 pathotypes. GH-1 was the major lineage comprising 52% of all the isolates and was present across the country on up to 24 rice cultivars. GH-2 comprising of 30% of the isolates sampled was restricted in distribution mainly from Hohoe area on up to seven cultivars. GH-3 consisted of six isolates from Western, Eastern and Central Regions while GH-4 consisted of two isolates from Nyankpala in Northern Region. Occurrence of blast pathogen on wild rice and weed hosts has been observed and their potential impact needs to be considered in blast/weed management. Baseline data new to Ghana on the diversity and distribution pattern of the blast pathogen populations have been established and key sites identified. Adaptive research is continuing to develop technologies suitable for long-term pathogen monitoring, identify sources of resistance and develop appropriate blast management strategies
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