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Resistance

Development of Resistance to Ergot in Pearl Millet. R. P. Thakur, Plant pathologist, Pearl Millet Improvement Program, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru P.O., Andhra Pradesh 502 324, India.; R. J. Williams(2), and V. P. Rao(3). (2)(3)Principal pathologist, and technical assistant, respectively, Pearl Millet Improvement Program, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, P.O., Andhra Pradesh 502 324, India. Phytopathology 72:406-408. Accepted for publication 18 June 1981. Copyright 1982 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-72-406.

Twenty pearl millet cultivars, identified from more than 4,000 germ plasm accessions as relatively less susceptible to ergot, were intermated, and the progenies of these crosses were screened for ergot resistance at each generation from F2 to F6, using an improved resistance screening technique. At F2, no population had a mean ergot severity of less than 20%, but when individual inflorescences that had little or no ergot were selected at each generation to provide selfed seed for the next generation, resistance levels increased steadily. At F6, 27 of 98 lines had no more than 1% mean ergot severity, an additional 29 F6 lines had mean ergot severities of between 2 and 10%, and susceptible checks showed 7695% severity. This assembly of resistance factors is indicative of the rich genetic diversity in the pearl millet germ plasm collection and of the potential for selecting increased levels of certain characters by appropriate screening and selection techniques.

Additional keywords: Pennisetum americanum, Claviceps fusiformis.