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Highly heritable resistance to root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus thornei) in Australian chickpea germplasm observed using an optimised glasshouse method and multi-environment trial analysis

Abstract

Pratylenchus thornei is a root-lesion nematode (RLN) of economic significance in the grain growing regions of Australia. Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is a significant legume crop grown throughout these regions, but previous testing found most cultivars were susceptible to P. thornei. Therefore, improved resistance to P. thornei is an important objective of the Australian chickpea breeding program. A glasshouse method was developed to assess resistance of chickpea lines to P. thornei, which requires relatively low labour and resource input, and hence is suited to routine adoption within a breeding program. Using this method, good differentiation of chickpea cultivars for P. thornei resistance was measured after 12 weeks. Nematode multiplication was higher for all genotypes than the unplanted control, but of the 47 cultivars and breeding lines tested, 17 exhibited partial resistance, allowing less than two fold multiplication. The relative differences in resistance identified using this method were highly heritable (0.69) and were validated against P. thornei data from seven field trials using a multi-environment trial analysis. Genetic correlations for cultivar resistance between the glasshouse and six of the field trials were high (>0.73). These results demonstrate that resistance to P. thornei in chickpea is highly heritable and can be effectively selected in a limited set of environments. The improved resistance found in a number of the newer chickpea cultivars tested shows that some advances have been made in the P. thornei resistance of Australian chickpea cultivars, and that further targeted breeding and selection should provide incremental improvements.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Victorian State Government (DEDJTR) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (project numbers DAV00117 and DAV00123). Field trials were funded through GRDC, NSW DPI, DEDJTR and DAF Qld. Interspecific chickpea breeding lines were initiated and developed by Ted Knights (NSW DPI Tamworth). Thanks to Michael Materne and Annathurai Gnanasambandam, for securing funding for this project and for providing initial project supervision. The authors also acknowledge the very able technical assistance of Dianne Noy, Grace Howden, Alistair Smith, Graham Exell, Jordan McDonald, Thomas Pritchett and Luise Sigel (DEDJTR) and Tim Clewett (USQ); field data collation by Sean Bithell (NSW DPI), and assistance with formatting of figures by Piotr Trebicki (DEDJTR).

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Correspondence to M. S. Rodda.

Electronic Supplementary Material

13313_2016_409_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx

Supp. Table 1 List of all field trial entries (XLSX 13 kb)

13313_2016_409_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx

Supp. Table 2 Germplasm tested in glasshouse experiment with wild Cicer parental information (XLSX 14 kb)

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Rodda, M.S., Hobson, K.B., Forknall, C.R. et al. Highly heritable resistance to root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus thornei) in Australian chickpea germplasm observed using an optimised glasshouse method and multi-environment trial analysis. Australasian Plant Pathol. 45, 309–319 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13313-016-0409-4

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Keywords

  • Plant breeding
  • Resistance screening
  • Cicer reticulatum
  • Cicer echinospermum