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Genetic Specificity in the White Pine-Blister Rust Pathosystem

March 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  3
Pages  278 - 280

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

Institute of Forest Genetics, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Berkeley, CA 94701 and Placerville, CA 95667

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Accepted for publication 6 November 2001.

Four of eight white pine species native to western North America surveyed for resistance to white pine blister rust by artificial inoculation showed classical hypersensitive reactions (HR) at frequencies ranging from very low to moderate. Mendelian segregation, indicating a single dominant allele for resistance (Cr3), was observed in southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis), as it was previously in sugar pine (P. lambertiana, Cr1) and western white pine (P. monticola, Cr2). HR was present at a relatively high frequency (19%) in one of five bulk seed lot sources of limber pine (P. flexilis), and was also presumed to be conditioned by a single gene locus, by analogy with the other three species. HR was not found in whitebark pine (P. albcaulis), Mexican white pine (P. ayacahuite), foxtail pine (P. balfouriana), or Great Basin bristlecone pine (P. longaeva), but population and sample sizes in these species may have been below the level of detection of alleles in low frequency. When challenged by (haploid) inocula from specific locations known to harbor virulence to Cr1 or Cr2, genotypes carrying these alleles and Cr3 reacted differentially, such that inoculum virulent to Cr1 was avirulent to Cr2, and inoculum virulent to Cr2 was avirulent to Cr1. Neither of these two inocula was capable of neutralizing Cr3. Although blister rust traditionally is considered an exotic disease in North America, these results, typical of classic gene-for-gene interactions, suggest that genetic memory of similar encounters in past epochs has been retained in this pathosystem.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2002