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Characterization of Two Major Genetic Factors Controlling Quantitative Resistance to Melampsora larici-populina Leaf Rust in Hybrid Poplars: Strain Specificity, Field Expression, Combined Effects, and Relationship with a Defeated Qualitative Resistance Gene

December 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  12
Pages  1,358 - 1,367

A. Dowkiw and C. Bastien

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Unité Amélioration, Génétique et Physiologie Forestières, avenue de la Pomme de Pin, BP 20619 Ardon, F-45166 Olivet Cedex, France

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Two genetic factors explain a significant proportion of the variability for quantitative resistance to Melampsora larici-populina leaf rust in a Populus deltoides × P. trichocarpa F1 progeny. One is inherited from P. deltoides and is associated with a defeated qualitative resistance gene R1, and the other, RUS, is inherited from P. trichocarpa. To assess the potential contribution of these two factors for durable resistance breeding, 284 genotypes from this F1 progeny were studied in laboratory experiments with three M. larici-populina strains and in a field experiment under natural inoculum pressure. Results confirmed that both factors can have strong beneficial effects in the laboratory. These effects were strain specific, thus impairing their chances for durability. However, association of both factors led to synergistic effects in most situations. In accordance with good field-laboratory relationships, especially those involving uredinia-size laboratory measurements, field effects of both resistance factors were significant. RUS led to a significant reduction of rust colonization on the most infected leaf in the field, and its effect was significant both in the presence and the absence of R1. In contrast, the presence of R1 was useful in the field only when RUS was absent. The nature of the genetic relationship between both factors remains unknown, but benefits from their association should be quantified over a longer period to evaluate potential adaptation of the pathogen.

Additional keywords: residual effect.

2004 The American Phytopathological Scoiety