The reproductive potential of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita is affected by selection for virulence against major resistance genes from tomato and pepper
The emergence of virulent root-knot nematode populations, able to overcome the resistance conferred by some of the resistance genes (R-genes) in Solanaceous crops, i.e., Mi(s) in tomato, Me(s) in pepper, may constitute a severe limitation to their use in the field. Research has been conducted to evaluate the durability of these R-genes, by comparing the reproduction of several laboratory-selected and wild virulent Meloidogyne incognita isolates, on both susceptible and resistant tomatoes and peppers. We first show that the Me1 R-gene in pepper behaves as a robust R-gene controlling avirulent and virulent Me3, Me7 or Mi-1 isolates. Although the reproductive potential of the virulent isolates was highly variable on susceptible and resistant plants, we also confirm that virulence is highly specific to a determined R-gene on which selection has occurred. Another significant experimental result is the observation that a reproductive fitness cost is associated with nematode virulence against Mi-1 in tomato and Me3 and Me7 in pepper. The adaptative significance of trade-offs between selected characters and fitness-related traits, suggests that, although the resistance can be broken, it may be preserved in some conditions if the virulent nematodes are counter-selected in susceptible plants. All these results have important consequences for the management of plant resistance in the field.
Key wordsMeloidogyne spp. Solanaceae Me(s) and Mi-1 resistance genes Virulence specificity Fitness cost of virulence
This research was carried out with the financial support from the European Commission (FP6-NoE ENDURE), and from the French Ministère de l’Agriculture de l’Alimentation et de la Pêche (MAAP, convention N° C06/03).
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