First and second authors: Department of Plant Pathology; and third author: Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, OH 44691
Gray leaf spot (GLS), caused by the fungus Cercospora zeae-maydis, is one of the most important foliar diseases of maize. This study was undertaken to estimate heritability of C. zeae-maydis resistance and examine the relationship between previously identified resistance loci and certain components of resistance including incubation period, lesion number, and maximum lesion length. Partially inbred progenies arising from hybridization between maize inbred lines VO613Y (high level of partial resistance) and Pa405 (susceptible) were examined in Ohio and South Africa. Heritability estimates of resistance were calculated based on severity and incubation period values. The range of heritability estimates based on severity was broad, with values ranging from approximately 0.46 to 0.81 (mean = 0.59). Estimates of mean heritability for incubation period were lowest (0.18), indicating that this component would likely be unsuitable for selection of germ plasm intended for deployment in diverse regions. Length of GLS lesions was significantly affected by host genotype, with resistant genotypes having shorter lesions from one site in Ohio during two seasons. Genotype also had a significant effect on incubation period and lesion number; the lower values for these components also were associated with resistant genotypes. The combined action of these resistance components resulted in lower overall disease severity.