Most sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars grown commercially in the Pacific Northwestern states of the United States are susceptible to powdery mildew, caused by the fungus Podosphaera clandestina (Wall.:Fr.) Lev. The disease is prevalent in the irrigated arid region east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Little is known about genetic resistance to powdery mildew in sweet cherry, although a selection (PMR-1) was identified at Washington State Univ.'s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center that exhibits apparent foliar immunity to the disease. The objective of this research was to determine the inheritance of powdery mildew resistance from PMR-1. Reciprocal crosses were made between PMR-1 and three high-quality, widely-grown susceptible cultivars (`Bing', `Rainier', and `Van'). Resultant progenies were screened for reaction to powdery mildew colonization using a laboratory leaf disk assay. Assay results were verified by natural spread of powdery mildew among the progeny in a greenhouse and later by placing them among infected trees in a cherry orchard. Segregation within the progenies for powdery mildew reaction fit a 1 resistant: 1 susceptible segregation ratio (P ≤ 0.05), indicating that resistance to powdery mildew derived from PMR-1 was conferred by a single gene.
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