Pathogens within the Diaporthe complex cause seed decay, stem blight and stem canker on soybean, representing a serious threat for this crop species. We herein utilize worldwide sequence data retrieved from Genbank in order to assess the species boundaries between the soybean stem canker causal agents, and define whether or not they should be regarded as members of the same biological species. These studies were complemented with compatibility tests, in order to validate our findings from a biological standpoint. Species delimitation assays supported the occurrence of a speciation event between D. caulivora and D. phaseolourm var. meridionalis. A speciation hypothesis between D. aspalathi and D. phaseolourm var. meridionalis was also supported, based on three reciprocally monophyletic substitutions at locus EF1-α. Compatibility tests further validated species delimitation assays indicating that D. caulivora has developed barriers to gene exchange with D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis. Clarification of the specific boundaries of the SSC pathogens and related entities will be an important asset to future research in soybean pathology, epidemiology and breeding.
Diaporthe aspalathi; Diaporthe caulivora; Diaporthe phaseolorum var. meridionalis; species delimitation