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Novel Fusarium wilt resistance genes uncovered in natural and cultivated strawberry populations are found on three non-homoeologous chromosomes.


Key message

Several Fusarium wilt resistance genes were discovered, genetically and physically mapped, and rapidly deployed via marker-assisted selection to develop cultivars resistant to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae, a devastating soil-borne pathogen of strawberry. Fusarium wilt, a soilborne disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae, poses a significant threat to strawberry (Fragaria [Formula: see text] ananassa) production in many parts of the world. This pathogen causes wilting, collapse, and death in susceptible genotypes. We previously identified a dominant gene (FW1) on chromosome 2B that confers resistance to race 1 of the pathogen, and hypothesized that gene-for-gene resistance to Fusarium wilt was widespread in strawberry. To explore this, a genetically diverse collection of heirloom and modern cultivars and octoploid ecotypes were screened for resistance to Fusarium wilt races 1 and 2. Here, we show that resistance to both races is widespread in natural and domesticated populations and that resistance to race 1 is conferred by partially to completely dominant alleles among loci (FW1, FW2, FW3, FW4, and FW5) found on three non-homoeologous chromosomes (1A, 2B, and 6B). The underlying genes have not yet been cloned and functionally characterized; however, plausible candidates were identified that encode pattern recognition receptors or other proteins known to confer gene-for-gene resistance in plants. High-throughput genotyping assays for SNPs in linkage disequilibrium with FW1-FW5 were developed to facilitate marker-assisted selection and accelerate the development of race 1 resistant cultivars. This study laid the foundation for identifying the genes encoded by FW1-FW5, in addition to exploring the genetics of resistance to race 2 and other races of the pathogen, as a precaution to averting a Fusarium wilt pandemic.

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