Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 15–25 | Cite as

Interactions of Fr genes and mixed-pathogen inocula in the loblolly pine-fusiform rust pathosystem

  • Fikret Isik
  • Henry V. Amerson
  • Ross W. Whetten
  • Saul A. Garcia
  • Steven E. McKeand
Original Paper


Open-pollinated loblolly pine seedlings derived from seven maternal parents were inoculated in a greenhouse with 10 different bulked inocula of the fusiform rust fungus and assessed for disease incidence. The maternal parents are heterozygous (Rr) for one or two of nine known pathotype-specific Fr genes (fusiform rust resistance genes). Progeny were genotyped to identify carriers of known R and r alleles inherited from the maternal parents. The R alleles condition resistance to specific genotypes of the fungal pathogen, while r alleles do not condition for resistance. Interactions were tested among different host genotypes and different bulked inocula. Significant differences in virulence against R genotypes were observed in the bulked inocula. Likewise, the inocula were significantly different with regard to their ability to incite disease at the family level and in r genotypes. Across the inocula, disease levels differed significantly among families. Within each family, r genotype seedlings typically exhibited higher disease rates than did R genotype seedlings. The magnitude of difference (odds ratio) between the R versus r genotypes for disease incidence within each family varied from 1 to 32 times. Significant interactions between host and pathogen genotypes were observed in four of the seven families. These greenhouse assessments using bulked inocula sources revealed wide ranges of pathogen virulence levels against the different R alleles. Barring virulence masking by unknown resistance genes, similar virulence assessments should be effective guides for the field deployment of seedlings carrying specific R alleles to regions where inocula samples show low or no corresponding virulence.


Pinus taeda Disease resistance Gene-for-gene resistance Tree improvement Virulence assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fikret Isik
    • 1
  • Henry V. Amerson
    • 2
  • Ross W. Whetten
    • 1
  • Saul A. Garcia
    • 1
  • Steven E. McKeand
    • 1
  1. 1.Cooperative Tree Improvement Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental ResourcesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forestry and Environmental ResourcesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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