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Origin and Distribution of Cr2, a Gene for Resistance to White Pine Blister Rust in Natural Populations of Western White Pine

June 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  6
Pages  691 - 694

Bohun B. Kinloch , Jr. , Richard A. Sniezko , and Gayle E. Dupper

First and third authors: Institute of Forest Genetics, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Berkeley, CA 94701 and Placerville, CA 95667; and second author: Dorena Genetic Resources Center, USDA Forest Service, Cottage Grove, OR 97424

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Accepted for publication 15 January 2003.

The distribution and frequency of the Cr2 gene for resistance to white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) in western white pine (Pinus monticola) was surveyed in natural populations of the host by inoculation of open-pollinated seedlings from 687 individual seed parents from throughout most of the species' range. Because Cr2 is dominant and results in a conspicuous hypersensitive reaction (HR) in pine needles, the phenotype can readily be detected in offspring of susceptible seed parents fertilized by unknown Cr2 donors in the ambient pollen cloud. Gametic frequencies of Cr2 were thus determined as the proportion of total challenged seedlings that were pollen receptors exhibiting the Cr2 phenotype. Zygotic frequencies, the proportion of seed parents with progeny that segregated in Mendelian ratios for the Cr2 phenotype to the total number of parents, were a complementary, though less precise, measure. Cr2 frequency was rare overall, ranging from 0.004 to 0.008 in the Sierra Nevada to about 0.001 in the central Cascade Range; it was undetectable further north in the Cascades, as well as in the Rocky Mountains and Coast Mountains of the United States and Canada. The diminishing frequency of Cr2 from the southern and central Sierra Nevada northward mirrors that of Cr1 in sugar pine (P. lambertiana) and points to this region as the origin of both genes. We rationalize that this coincidence may have resulted from protection that these genes may have conferred on both species to an endemic pine stem rust congeneric with C. ribicola (C. occidentale) in recent geologic epochs.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2003