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Fertile Interspecific Somatic Hybrids of Solanum: A Novel Source of Resistance to Erwinia Soft Rot. Sandra Austin, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706; Ewa Lojkowska(2), Mark K. Ehlenfeldt(3), Arthur Kelman(4), and John P. Helgeson(5), (2)(3)(4)Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706; (5)USDA, ARS, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Phytopathology 78:1216-1220. Accepted for publication 31 March 1988. This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 1988. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-78-1216.

Tubers of somatic hybrids produced by protoplast fusion between Solanum brevidens, a diploid, nontuber-bearing wild species, and a tetraploid potato (S. tuberosum) were screened for resistance to bacterial soft rot caused by Erwinia sp. Tubers of the S. tuberosum fusion parent, and two potato cultivars, Katahdin and Russet Burbank, were susceptible to bacterial soft rot, whereas tubers of the somatic hybrids were resistant. Furthermore, some of the sexual progeny from crosses between the somatic hybrids and Katahdin had the same high level of resistance as the somatic hybrids. Thus, the resistance incorporated from S. brevidens by somatic fusion was sexually transferred. Interspecific somatic hybridization may make it possible to use new sources of disease resistance and other important agronomic traits that were previously unavailable because of sexual incompatibilities between species.

Additional keywords: Erwinia carotovora supsp. atroseptica, E. c. subsp. carotovora, E. chrysanthemi, interspecific protoplast fusion, transfer of disease resistance.