Genetic Mechanisms of Host–Pathogen Interactions for Charcoal Rot in Soybean
Soybean is a leading agronomic crop and contributes to food and agricultural security with expanding production areas in diverse regions around the world. Although soybean is challenged by several diseases and pests and progress has been made in understanding and managing some of these pathogens and pests, charcoal rot, incited by the soil-borne fungal pathogen Macrophomina phaseolina, has received little attention. M. phaseolina has a broad host range and is capable of attacking and infecting several groups of plant species, including soybean. Charcoal rot symptoms on soybean appear more commonly during hot and dry weather conditions, and are associated with drought stress. In recent years, it has become more important to develop management strategies to control charcoal rot in soybean fields. Understanding the genetics of this pathogen as well as its interactions with plant hosts will help in developing effective control and management strategies. The biology of M. phaseolina, its genetics, and plant–fungal relationships are reviewed herein. In addition, a discussion of potential opportunities utilizing modern tools to enhance genetic resistance against charcoal rot is also presented.