Characterization of New Sources of Resistance in Cowpea to the Southern Root-knot Nematode

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  • 1 U.S. Vegetable Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2875 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC 29414-5334

A series of greenhouse and field studies was conducted over 9 years to characterize three new sources of resistance in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] to the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood] and to determine if the resistances are conditioned by genes allelic to the Rk root-knot nematode resistance gene in `Mississippi Silver'. Three plant introductions (PI), PI 441917, PI 441920, and PI 468104, were evaluated for reaction to M. incognita in four greenhouse tests, and in every test each PI exhibited less galling, egg mass formation, or egg production than `Mississippi Silver'. F2 populations of the crosses between `Mississippi Silver' and each of the three resistant PIs were also evaluated for root-knot nematode resistance in a greenhouse test. None of the F2 populations segregated for resistance, indicating that PI 441917, PI 441920, and PI 468104 each has a gene conditioning resistance that is allelic to the Rk gene in `Mississippi Silver'. Our observations on the superior levels of resistances exhibited by PI 441917, PI 441920, and PI 468104 suggest that the allele at the Rk locus in these lines may not be the Rk allele, but one or more alleles that condition a superior, dominant-type resistance. The availability of additional dominant alleles would broaden the genetic base for root-knot nematode resistance in cowpea.

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