A Genetic Locus Associated with Resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum Race 2 in Citrullus lanatus-type Watermelon

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Fusarium wilt of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (FON), is a devastating soil-borne disease limiting watermelon production across the world. Although many watermelon cultivars have been bred for resistance to FON races 0 and 1, the only released cultivars that are resistant to FON 2 are nonharvested pollenizers. The lack of FON 2–resistant edible cultivars is thought to be associated with linkage drag and/or preferential inheritance patterns observed when crossing the resistant, wild source (Citrullus amarus), with edible watermelon. A potential way to overcome these obstacles is to use a resistant C. lanatus as the source of resistance and to develop molecular markers to increase the efficiency of selection. Here we describe the identification of a quantitative trait locus (QTL) associated with FON 2 resistance in watermelon. The genotyping by sequencing (GBS) platform was used to generate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in an F2 population (n = 178) developed from a cross between UGA147 (resistant) and ‘Charleston Gray’ (susceptible). Five hundred and one SNPs were placed on the watermelon physical map and used in the mapping of QTL. F3 lines were phenotyped for resistance to FON 2 in the greenhouse. An intermediate QTL associated with resistance to FON 2 was identified on chromosome 11 (Qfon11). This QTL is a potential target for marker-assisted selection (MAS) for FON 2 resistance in watermelon.

Contributor Notes

This research was supported in part by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Research and Education grant (GEO-2009-04819) and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant (2014-51181-22471).

Current address: Tropical Research and Education Center/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 18905 SW 280th Street, Homestead, FL 33031.

Corresponding author. E-mail: cmcgre1@uga.edu.

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    Frequency distribution for disease severity at 26 d after inoculation for the (A) April, (B) July, and (C) joint screening of the ‘Charleston Gray’ (CG) × UGA147 F2:3 watermelon population with Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum race 2. Disease severity was visually rated on a scale of 0 to 5 where, 0 = asymptomatic plants, 1 = initial wilting on one leaf, 2 = continued wilting in more than one leaf, 3 = all leaves wilted, 4 = all leaves wilted and stem collapsing, and 5 = dead plants (Meru and McGregor, 2016).

  • View in gallery

    Quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum race 2 on chromosome chr. 11 identified by composite interval mapping in the ‘Charleston Gray’ × UGA147 F2:3 watermelon population. Data are for separate (April and July) and joint analysis of the two screens for 26 d after inoculation. The number in parenthesis after the QTL trait name is the percentage of phenotypic variation explained. The boxes represent the 1-likelihood-odds (LOD) interval and the whiskers the 2-LOD interval for QTL. The partial chromosome is shown and the numbers on the left correspond to the megabase position on the watermelon draft genome (Guo et al., 2013). The underlined locus names are resistance genes underlying the identified QTL. The figure was generated using MapChart, version 2.2 (Voorrips, 2002).

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