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Genetic resistance provides efficient control of crop diseases, but is limited by pathogen evolution capacities which often result in resistance breakdown. It has been demonstrated recently, in three different pathosystems, that polygenic resistances combining a major-effect gene and quantitative resistance controlled by the genetic background are more durable than monogenic resistances (with the same major gene in a susceptible genetic background), but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Using the pepper-Potato virus Y system, we examined three mechanisms that could account for the greater durability of the polygenic resistances: (i) the additional quantitative resistance conferred by the genetic background; (ii) the increase in the number of mutations required for resistance breakdown; and (iii) the slower selection of adapted resistance-breaking mutants within the viral population. The three mechanisms were experimentally validated. The first explained a large part of the variation in resistance breakdown frequency and is therefore expected to be a major determinant of resistance durability. Quantitative resistance factors also had an influence on the second mechanism by modifying the virus mutational pathways towards resistance breakdown and could also have an influence on the third mechanism by increasing genetic drift effects on the viral population. The relevance of these results for other plant-pathogen systems and their importance in plant breeding are discussed. © 2012 THE AUTHORS. MOLECULAR PLANT PATHOLOGY © 2012 BSPP AND BLACKWELL PUBLISHING LTD.

Citation

Julie Quenouille, Josselin Montarry, Alain Palloix, Benoit Moury. Farther, slower, stronger: how the plant genetic background protects a major resistance gene from breakdown. Molecular plant pathology. 2013 Feb;14(2):109-18

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PMID: 23046402

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