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Evidence of Cytoplasmic Inheritance of Virulence in Cronartium ribicola to Major Gene Resistance in Sugar Pine

March 1999 , Volume 89 , Number  3
Pages  192 - 196

Bohun B. Kinloch , Jr. and Gayle E. Dupper

Institute of Forest Genetics, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Berkeley, CA 94701 and Placerville, CA 95667

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Accepted for publication 10 December 1998.

Tests for Mendelian segregation of virulence and avirulence in Cronartium ribicola, causal agent of white pine blister rust, to a major gene (R) for resistance in sugar pine were made using haploid basidiospore progenies from single diploid telia as inoculum on resistant genotypes. The telia were sampled from a small deme in the Siskyou Mountains of northern California, where a few mature sugar pines known to be Rr genotypes had become infected after withstanding the chronic blister rust epidemic for several decades and where intermediate frequencies of virulence in the ambient basidiospore population were subsequently measured. Infection type on inoculated seedlings with R was qualitative: all progenies of 81 single telia tested over 3 different years were either virulent (compatible) or avirulent (inducing hypersensitive necrosis), never a mixture of both reactions. The complete absence of heterozygotes in the telia population is strong evidence that virulence is not controlled by a nuclear gene. The data are consistent with earlier tests showing that basidiospore inoculum derived from aeciospores isolated from infected Rr trees produced mostly (>90%) virulent reactions on R— seedlings. The evidence indicates that transmission of virulence is uniparental via the cytoplasm of aeciospores. Exchange of spermatia between haploid thalli does not appear to be involved.

Additional keywords: Pinus lambertiana.

The American Phytopathological Society, 1999