, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 399-415

A genetic analysis of quantitative resistance to late blight in potato: towards marker-assisted selection

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Late blight caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans is the most important fungal disease in potato cultivation worldwide. Resistance to late blight is controlled by a few major genes (R genes) which can be easily overcome by new races of P. infestans and/or by an unknown number of genes expressing a quantitative type of resistance which may be more durable. Quantitative resistance of foliage to late blight was evaluated in five F1 hybrid families originating from crosses among seven different diploid potato clones. Tuber resistance was evaluated in four of the families. Two of the families were scored for both foliage maturity and vigour. The five families were genotyped with DNA-based markers and tested for linkage with the traits analysed. QTL (quantitative trait locus) analysis identified at least twelve segments on ten chromosomes of potato having genes that affect reproducibly foliage resistance. Two of those segments also have major R genes for resistance to late blight. The segments are tagged by 21 markers that can be analyzed based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction) with specific oligonucleotide primers. One QTL was detected for tuber resistance and one for foliage vigour. Two QTLs were mapped for foliage maturity. Major QTL effects on foliage and tuber resistance to late blight and on foliage maturity and vigour were all linked with marker GP179 on linkage group V of potato. Plants having alleles at this QTL, which increased foliage resistance, exhibited decreased tuber resistance, later maturity and more vigour.