Allele mining in Solanum: conserved homologues of Rpi-blb1 are identified in Solanum stoloniferum
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Allele mining facilitates the discovery of novel resistance (R) genes that can be used in breeding programs and sheds light on the evolution of R genes. Here we focus on two R genes, Rpi-blb1 and Rpi-blb2, originally derived from Solanum bulbocastanum. The Rpi-blb1 gene is part of a cluster of four paralogues and is flanked by RGA1-blb and RGA3-blb. Highly conserved RGA1-blb homologues were discovered in all the tested tuber-bearing (TB) and non-tuber-bearing (NTB) Solanum species, suggesting RGA1-blb was present before the divergence of TB and NTB Solanum species. The frequency of the RGA3-blb gene was much lower. Interestingly, highly conserved Rpi-blb1 homologues were discovered not only in S. bulbocastanum but also in Solanum stoloniferum that is part of the series Longipedicellata. Resistance assays and genetic analyses in several F1 populations derived from the relevant late blight resistant parental genotypes harbouring the conserved Rpi-blb1 homologues, indicated the presence of four dominant R genes, designated as Rpi-sto1, Rpi-plt1, Rpi-pta1 and Rpi-pta2. Furthermore, Rpi-sto1 and Rpi-plt1 resided at the same position on chromosome VIII as Rpi-blb1 in S. bulbocastanum. Segregation data also indicated that an additional unknown late blight resistance gene was present in three populations. In contrast to Rpi-blb1, no homologues of Rpi-blb2 were detected in any material examined. Hypotheses are proposed to explain the presence of conserved Rpi-blb1 homologues in S. stoloniferum. The discovery of conserved homologues of Rpi-blb1 in EBN 2 tetraploid species offers the possibility to more easily transfer the late blight resistance genes to potato varieties by classical breeding.