Eastern filbert blight (EFB) is a serious fungal disease of european hazelnut (Corylus avellana) in North America. The causal agent is the pyrenomycete Anisogramma anomala, which is native in the eastern United States where it occasionally produces small cankers on the wild american hazelnut (C. americana). However, most commercial cultivars of european hazelnut are susceptible. Infection leads to perennial cankers, girdling of branches, and premature tree death. Cultural practices including scouting, pruning out infected branches, and fungicide applications are recommended to slow disease spread but are expensive and not completely effective. EFB resistance from ‘Gasaway’ is conferred by a dominant allele at a single locus and has been extensively used in the Oregon State University hazelnut breeding program, but there is concern that this resistance could be overcome by isolates now present in the eastern United States or that a new race of the pathogen could arise in Oregon. Segregation for EFB resistance from ‘Uebov’, a new source from Serbia, was studied in three progenies by a combination of structure exposure and greenhouse inoculation. The frequency of resistant seedlings following structure exposure was about 20% in all three progenies. The ratios failed to fit the expected 1:1 ratio but did fit a ratio of 1 resistant:3 susceptible, which would be expected if resistance were conferred by dominant alleles at two independent loci. Seedlings from a cross of susceptible selection OSU 741.105 and ‘Uebov’ were used to study correlation of disease response and presence of alleles at microsatellite marker loci. Resistance was highly correlated with the presence of alleles at marker loci on linkage group 6 (LG6), and these markers also showed segregation distortion. We conclude that EFB resistance from ‘Uebov’ maps to a single locus on LG6 in the same region as resistance from ‘Gasaway’, although only about 20% of the seedlings are resistant because of segregation distortion. ‘Uebov’ has large, well-filled, round nuts and is suitable as a parent in breeding for the in-shell market, but its low nut yields and a high frequency of shells with split sutures are the drawbacks. Its use would expand options for breeding and ‘Uebov’ resistance could be combined with other resistance alleles with an expectation of more durable EFB resistance. Durable resistance would not only sustain the hazelnut industry in Oregon but would also allow expansion of plantings to new areas.
This research partially fulfilled the requirements for a Master of Science degree for G. Bhattarai. Funding was provided by the Oregon Hazelnut Commission, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, Hatch Act, a specific cooperative agreement with USDA, USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2014-67013-22421, and USDA-NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2009-51181-06028.
Current address: Program in Cell and Molecular Biology and Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.
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