A study was conducted to determine how resistance to downy mildew [Plasmopara viticola (Bert. & Curt.) Berl. & de Toni] is inherited in germplasm (Vitis vinifera L., V. labrusca L., V. rupestris Scheele, and V. riparia Michx.) used for breeding table grapes. Crosses, including reciprocals, among parents possessing different levels of downy mildew resistance were evaluated in 1994 and 1995. The proportion of foliar tissue with sporulation, chlorosis, or necrosis was used to measure resistance. All genotypes were rated for these characters on two separate dates in 1994 and 1995. Hypersensitive flecking was also evaluated in the 1995 seedlings to determine its relationship with downy mildew resistance. Crosses with at least one resistant parent had a larger number of resistant offspring than crosses between two susceptible parents. General combining ability (GCA) effects were highly significant for 1994 and 1995. Specific combining ability effects were significant, but were relatively small compared to GCA, suggesting additive gene action was a primary influence on downy mildew resistance. Heritability estimates for sporulation, chlorosis, and necrosis were the highest at the second rating in 1994 (0.88, 0.74, and 0.57, respectively) and 1995 (0.50, 0.60, and 0.60, respectively). Reciprocal crosses indicated that maternal inheritance did not influence downy mildew resistance. A small percentage of progeny with hypersensitive flecking were identified from the germplasm. Seedlings with the flecking characteristic tended to have lower sporulation, chlorosis, and necrosis ratings earlier in the growing season.
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