Study on identification of quantitative trait loci controlling field resistance to downy mildew in cultivated lettuce

Lettuce downy mildew, caused by Bremia lactucae Regel, is the most economically important foliar disease of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). The deployment of resistant cultivars carrying dominant resistance genes (Dm genes) plays a crucial role in integrated downy mildew disease management; however, high variability in pathogen populations leads to the defeat of plant resistance conferred by Dm genes.

Some lettuce cultivars exhibit field resistance that is only manifested in adult plants. Two populations of recombinant inbred lines (RILs), originating from crosses between the field resistant cultivars Grand Rapids and Iceberg and susceptible cultivars Salinas and PI491224, were evaluated for downy mildew resistance under field conditions. In all, 160 RILs from the Iceberg × PI491224 and 88 RILs from the Grand Rapids × Salinas populations were genotyped using genotyping by sequencing, which generated 906 and 746 high-quality markers, respectively, that were used for quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis.

This study found a QTL in chromosome 4 that is present in both Grand Rapids × Salinas and Iceberg × PI491224 populations that has a major effect on field resistance. They also found two additional significant QTLs in chromosomes 2 and 5 in the Iceberg × PI491224 RIL population. Marker-assisted gene pyramiding of multiple Dm genes in combination with QTLs for field resistance provide the opportunity to develop cultivars with more durable resistance to B. lactucae.

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Identification of Major Quantitative Trait Loci Controlling Field Resistance to Downy Mildew in Cultivated Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
Lorena Parra, Ivan Simko, and Richard W. Michelmore 

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