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Apple Proliferation Resistance in Apomictic Rootstocks and Its Relationship to Phytoplasma Concentration and Simple Sequence Repeat Genotypes

February 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  2
Pages  153 - 158

C. Bisognin, B. Schneider, H. Salm, M. S. Grando, W. Jarausch, E. Moll, and E. Seemüller

First and fourth author: IASMA Research Center, I-38010 San Michele all'Adige (TN), Italy; second, third, and seventh authors: Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops, D-69221 Dossenheim, Germany; fifth author: AlPlanta--Institute for Plant Research, RLP AgroScience GmbH, D-67435 Neustadt/W., Germany; and sixth author: Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Central Data Processing Group, D-14532 Kleinmachnow, Germany.

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Accepted for publication 4 September 2007.

In an effort to select and characterize apple rootstock resistant to apple proliferation (AP), progenies from seven apomictic rootstock selections and their parental apomictic species, Malus sieboldii and M. sargentii, were compared to standard stocks M 9 and M 11. Seedlings derived from open pollinated mother plants were grafted with cv. Golden Delicious and grown under natural infection conditions. The progenies differed greatly in resistance to the AP agent ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma mali’. Progenies of M. sieboldii and its descendent rootstock selections D2212, 4608, 4551, and D1131 showed a high level of resistance, whereas progenies of M. sargentii and its descendent selections D1111 and C1828 proved susceptible. M 9 and M 11 showed an intermediate level of resistance. Phytoplasma titer in roots of the M. sieboldii and M. sargentii progeny groups was similarly low, whereas the concentration in the standard stocks was 100 to 5,000 times higher. In trees on most of the resistant stocks, only a minority was colonized in the scion, while in trees on susceptible and standard stocks, infection rate was often higher. Also, the titer in the top of trees on resistant stocks was usually lower than in trees on susceptible and standard stocks. Four progenies derived from open pollinated M. sieboldii and M. sieboldii descendents were subjected to DNA typing using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. This study revealed that the selected groups consisted mainly of mother-like plants (apomicts) and type I hybrids (unreduced mother genotype plus one male allele at each locus). Type II hybrids (full recombinants) and autopollinated offspring were rare. In the 4608 progeny, trees grown on type I hybrid rootstocks were significantly less affected than trees on mother-like stocks. In other progenies with fewer or no type I hybrids, trees on type II hybrids and autopollinated offspring suffered considerably more from disease than trees on mother-like stocks.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2008