Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University, PO Box 386, 6700 AJ, Wageningen, The Netherlands
The nonhost resistance of wild lettuce (Lactuca saligna) to downy mildew (Bremia lactucae) is based on at least 15 quantitative trait loci (QTL), each effective at one or more plant developmental stages. We used QTL pyramiding (stacking) to determine how many of these QTL from L. saligna are sufficient to impart complete resistance towards B. lactucae to cultivated lettuce, L. sativa. The alleles of four of the most promising QTL, rbq4, rbq5, rbq6+11, and rbq7 are effective at both the young and adult plant stages. Lines with these four QTL in all possible combinations were generated by crossing the respective backcross inbred lines (BIL). Using the 11 resulting lines (combiBIL), we determined that combinations of three QTL, rbq4, rbq5, and rbq6+11, led to increased levels of resistance; however, one QTL, rbq7, did not add to the resistance level when combined with the other QTL. One line, tripleBIL268, which contains the three QTL rbq4, rbq5, and rbq6+11, was completely resistant to B. lactucae at the young plant stage. This suggests that these three QTL are sufficient to confer the complete resistance of the nonhost L. saligna and any additional QTL in L. saligna are redundant. Histological analysis of B. lactucae infection in L. saligna, the BIL, and the combiBIL 48 h after inoculation revealed different microscopical phenotypes of resistance. The QTL differed with respect to the stage of the infection process with which they interfered.