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Richard L. Fery* and Judy A. Thies

Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are major pests of pepper (Capsicum spp.) in the United States, and parasitism of susceptible plants can result in severe yield losses. Although cultivars belonging to the species C. annuum account for most of the peppers grown in the United States. Habanero-type cultivars belonging to the species C. chinense are becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, all commercial Habanero-type cultivars are susceptible to root-knot nematodes. In 1997, the USDA released three C. chinense germplasm lines that exhibit high levels of resistance to root-knot nematodes. The resistance in these lines is conditioned by a single dominant gene, and this gene conditions resistance to the southern root-knot nematode (M. incognita), the peanut root-knot nematode (M. arenaria race 1), and the tropical root-knot nematode (M. javanica). A recurrent backcross breeding procedure has been used to transfer the C. chinense root-knot nematode resistance gene in Habanero-type germplasm. Several root-knot nematode resistant, Habanero-type candidate cultivars have been developed. Each of these Habanero-type candidate cultivars has a compact plant habit and produces a high yield of orange-colored, lantern-shaped fruit.

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

Greenhouse tests were conducted to compare the levels of resistance to the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood] exhibited by recently released Capsicum chinense Jacq. Scotch Bonnet-type germplasm lines PA-353, PA-398, and PA-426 to the levels of resistance exhibited by C. annuum L. `Carolina Cayenne' and `Mississippi Nemaheart'; to determine the inheritance of the resistance in C. chinense germplasm line PA-426; and to determine the genetic relationship between the resistances exhibited by C. chinense germplasm line PA-426 and C. annuum `Carolina Cayenne'. The results of a replicated test indicated that the level of resistances exhibited by the resistant released C. chinense germplasm lines is equal to the level of resistances exhibited by the resistant C. annuum cultivars. Evaluation of parental, F1, F2, and backcross populations of the cross PA-426 × PA-350 (a susceptible Habanero-type C. chinense cultigen) indicated that the resistance in C. chinense is conditioned by a single dominant gene. The results of an allelism test indicated that this dominant gene is allelic to the dominant gene that conditions much of the southern root-knot nematode resistance in the C. annuum `Carolina Cayenne'. The ease and reliability of evaluating plants for resistance to root-knot nematode and the availability of a simply inherited source of outstanding resistance makes breeding for southern root-knot nematode resistance a viable objective in C. chinense breeding programs.

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Judy A. Thies and Richard L. Fery

Heat stability of the N gene that confers resistance to the southern root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), was determined at 24, 28, and 32°C. Responses of resistant bell pepper cultivars Charleston Belle and Carolina Wonder (homozygous for the N gene) and their respective susceptible recurrent backcross parents, `Keystone Resistant Giant' and `Yolo Wonder B', to M. incognita were compared. Numbers of eggs/g fresh root, reproductive factor of M. incognita, numbers of second-stage juveniles in soil, egg mass production, and root galling increased (P < 0.05) for all cultivars as temperature increased. The response of the resistant cultivars to temperature increase was less dramatic than the response of the susceptible cultivars. Both `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' exhibited a partial loss of resistance at 28 and 32 °C. Reproduction of M. incognita was minimal on the resistant cultivars at 24 °C, but increased at higher temperatures. However, at 32 °C reproduction of M. incognita on the resistant cultivars was only 20% of that on the susceptible cultivars and root gall indices were within the range considered moderately resistant. Unlike the susceptible cultivars, the shoot dry weights of the resistant cultivars were not suppressed at 32 °C. This suggests that `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' may be somewhat tolerant to M. incognita at high soil temperatures. Although results indicate a partial loss of resistance occurred in `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' under high soil temperatures, resistant cultivars may be a useful component of cropping systems designed to manage M. incognita in hot climates.

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Judy A. Thies and Richard L. Fery

Two isogenic sets of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) lines (differing at the N root-knot nematode resistance locus) were characterized for resistance to Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood races 1 and 2, M. hapla Chitwood, and M. javanica (Treub) Chitwood in greenhouse and growth chamber tests. The isogenic sets of C. annuum were `Charleston Belle' (NN) and `Keystone Resistant Giant' (nn-recurrent parent), and `Carolina Wonder' (NN) and `Yolo Wonder B' (nn-recurrent parent). Meloidogyne arenaria race 1 is pathogenic to C. annuum. `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' exhibited high resistance to M. arenaria race 1. Their respective recurrent backcross parents, `Keystone Resistant Giant' and `Yolo Wonder B', were susceptible to M. arenaria. Meloidogyne arenaria race 2 and M. javanica are not highly pathogenic to pepper. However, `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' both exhibited higher (P≤0.05) resistance to M. arenaria race 2 and M. javanica than `Keystone Resistant Giant' and `Yolo Wonder B'. Meloidogyne hapla is pathogenic to pepper. Both `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' and their respective recurrent parents, `Keystone Resistant Giant' and `Yolo Wonder B', were susceptible to M. hapla. We concluded that the N gene confers resistance to M. arenaria races 1 and 2, and M. javanica in C. annuum, but the N gene does not condition resistance to M. hapla.

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

Greenhouse experiments determined the inheritance of resistance to the peanut root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood race 1] in Capsicum chinense Jacq. germplasm lines PA-353 and PA-426. Evaluation of parental, F1, F2, and backcross populations of the crosses PA-353 × PA-350 and PA-426 × PA-350 (PA-350 is a susceptible cultigen) indicated that resistance in both C. chinense germplasm lines was conditioned by a single dominant gene. Evaluation of the F1 × resistant parent backcross populations in the cytoplasm of their respective resistant and susceptible parents indicated that the cytoplasm of the resistant parent is not needed for full expression of resistance. Allelism tests indicated that the dominant resistance gene in both PA-353 and PA-426 is allelic to a resistance gene in C. annuum L. `Carolina Cayenne'. However, these allelism tests did not demonstrate conclusively that the M. arenaria race 1 resistance gene in C. chinense is the N gene that conditions resistance to the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood] in C. annuum. The ease and reliability of evaluating plants for resistance to root-knot nematodes and the availability of simply inherited sources of resistance makes breeding for peanut root-knot nematode resistance a viable objective in C. chinense breeding programs.

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Judy A. Thies and Richard L. Fery

Expression of the N gene, which confers resistance to southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita Kofoid and White) in bell pepper [(Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum (Grossum Group)], is modified at high temperatures (28 °C and 32 °C), but its expression in the heterozygous condition (Nn) has not been documented at moderate or high temperatures. Responses of the near-isogenic bell pepper cultivars, Charleston Belle and Keystone Resistant Giant (differing at the N locus), and the F1 and reciprocal F1 crosses between these cultivars to M. incognita race 3 were determined at 24, 28, and 32 °C in growth chamber experiments. `Keystone Resistant Giant' (nn) was susceptible at 24, 28, and 32 °C. `Charleston Belle' (NN) exhibited high resistance at 24 °C and resistance was partially lost at 28 and 32 °C. However, at 32 °C root gall and egg mass severity indices for `Charleston Belle' were still in the resistant range, and the number of M. incognita eggs per gram fresh root and reproductive index were 97% and 90% less, respectively, than for `Keystone Resistant Giant'. Responses of the F1 and F1 reciprocal hybrid populations to M. incognita were similar to the response of the resistant parent at all temperatures. Root fresh weights and top dry weights indicated that both hybrid populations tolerated M. incognita infections at least as well as `Charleston Belle'. These findings indicate that i) only one of the parental inbred lines needs to be converted to the NN genotype to produce F1 hybrid cultivars with fully functional N-type resistance to M. incognita; and ii) cytoplasmic factors are not involved in expression of N-type resistance and the resistant parental inbred can used to equal advantage as either the paternal or the maternal parent.