Fusarium culmorum is a major pathogen of wheat and barley causing head blight and crown rot in cooler temperate climates of Australia, Europe, West Asia and North Africa. To better understand its evolutionary history we partially sequenced single copy nuclear genes encoding translation elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF), reductase (RED) and phosphate permease (PHO) in 100 F. culmorum isolates with 11 isolates of Fusarium crookwellense, Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium pseudograminearum. Phylogenetic analysis of multilocus sequence (MLS) data using Bayesian inference and maximum parsimony analysis showed that F. culmorum from wheat is a single phylogenetic species with no significant linkage disequilibrium and little or no lineage development along geographic origin. Both MLS and TEF and RED gene sequence analysis separated the four Fusarium species used and delineated three to four groups within the F. culmorum clade. But the PHO gene could not completely resolve isolates into their respective species. Fixation index and gene flow suggest significant genetic exchange between the isolates from distant geographic regions. A lack of strong lineage structure despite the geographic separation of the three collections indicates a frequently recombining species and/or widespread distribution of genotypes due to international trade, tourism and long-range dispersal of macroconidia. Moreover, the two mating type genes were present in equal proportion among the F. culmorum collection used in this study, leaving open the possibility of sexual reproduction. (C) 2010 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.