Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824.
Pepper is the third most important solanaceous crop in the United States and fourth most important worldwide. To identify sources of resistance for commercial breeding, 170 pepper genotypes from five continents and 45 countries were evaluated for Phytophthora fruit rot resistance using two isolates of Phytophthora capsici. Genetic diversity and population structure were assessed on a subset of 157 genotypes using 23 polymorphic simple sequence repeats. Partial resistance and isolate-specific interactions were identified in the population at both 3 and 5 days postinoculation (dpi). Plant introductions (PIs) 640833 and 566811 were the most resistant lines evaluated at 5 dpi to isolates 12889 and OP97, with mean lesion areas less than Criollo de Morelos. Genetic diversity was moderate (0.44) in the population. The program STRUCTURE inferred four genetic clusters with moderate to very great differentiation among clusters. Most lines evaluated were susceptible or moderately susceptible at 5 dpi, and no lines evaluated were completely resistant to Phytophthora fruit rot. Significant population structure was detected when pepper varieties were grouped by predefined categories of disease resistance, continent, and country of origin. Moderately resistant or resistant PIs to both isolates of P. capsici at 5 dpi were in genetic clusters one and two.