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Judy A. Thies and Amnon Levi

Root-knot nematodes [Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood, Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood, and Meloidogyne javanica (Treub) Chitwood] are serious pests of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus] in the southern United States and worldwide. Watermelon cultivars with resistance to any of these nematode pests are not available. Therefore, we evaluated all accessions of Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad.(21) and Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. citroides (L.H. Bailey) Mansf.(88), and about 10% of C. lanatus var. lanatus (156) accessions from the U.S. Plant Introduction (PI) Citrullus germplasm collection for resistance to M. arenaria race 1 in greenhouse tests. Only one C. lanatus var. lanatus accession exhibited very low resistance [root gall index (GI) = 4.9] and 155 C. lanatus var. lanatus accessions were susceptible (GI ranged from 5.0 to 9.0, where 1 = no galls and 9 = ≥81% root system covered with galls). All C. colocynthis accessions were highly susceptible (GI range = 8.5 to 9.0). However, 20 of 88 C. lanatus var. citroides accessions were moderately resistant with a GI range of 3.1 to 4.0; overall GI range for the C. lanatus var. citroides accessions was 3.1 to 9.0. Resistance to M. arenaria race 1 identified in the C. lanatus var. citroides accessions was confirmed on a subset of accessions in a replicated greenhouse test. The results of our evaluations demonstrated that there is significant genetic variability within the U.S. PI Citrullus germplasm collection for resistance to M. arenaria race 1 and also identified C. lanatus var. citroides accessions as potential sources of resistance.

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Judy A. Thies and Amnon Levi

Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) cause extensive damage to watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus], and resistance to root-knot nematodes has not been identified in any watermelon cultivar. Twenty-six U.S. Plant Introductions (PIs) of Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. citroides (L. H. Bailey) Mansf., one PI of C. lanatus var. lanatus, and three PIs of Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad. were evaluated in greenhouse tests for resistances to Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood race 3 and Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood race 2. Twenty-three of the C. lanatus var. citroides PIs and the C. lanatus var. lanatus PIs were previously identified as moderately resistant to M. arenaria race 1. Overall, the C. lanatus var. citroides PIs exhibited low to moderate resistance, and the C. lanatus var. lanatus and C. colocynthis PIs were susceptible to both M. incognita race 3 and M. arenaria race 2. The C. lanatus var. citroides PI 482303 was the most resistant PI with gall index (GI) = 2.88 and reproductive index (RI) = 0.34 for M. incognita race 3 and GI = 3.46 and RI = 0.38 for M. arenaria race 2 (1 = no galling; 5 = 26% to 38% root system galled; 9 = 81% to 100% root system galled). These results demonstrate that there is significant genetic variability within C. lanatus var. citroides for reaction to M. incognita and M. arenaria race 2, and several C. lanatus var. citroides PIs may provide sources of resistance to root-knot nematodes.

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

The USDA–ARS has released a new Habanero-type pepper cultivar named TigerPaw-NR. The new cultivar is the product of a conventional recurrent backcross breeding procedure to transfer a dominant root-knot nematode resistance gene from the Scotch Bonnet accession PA-426 into the Habanero-type accession PA-350. TigerPaw-NR was derived from a single F3BC4 plant grown in 2002. TigerPaw-NR is homozygous for a dominant gene conditioning a high level of resistance to the southern root-knot nematode, the peanut root-knot nematode, and the tropical root-knot nematode. TigerPaw-NR has a compact plant habit and produces attractive lantern-shaped, orange-colored fruit. The results of three replicated field studies conducted at Charleston, S.C., indicate that the fruit and yield characteristics of TigerPaw-NR are comparable to those of currently available Habanero-type cultivars. A typical fruit weighs 7.8 g, is 2.7 cm wide × 4.4 cm long, and is extremely pungent (348,634 Scoville heat units). Root-knot nematodes are major pests of peppers in the United States, and all Habanero-type cultivars currently available to commercial growers and home gardeners are susceptible. The root-knot nematode resistant TigerPaw-NR is recommended for use by both commercial growers and home gardeners. Protection for TigerPaw-NR is being sought under the Plant Variety Protection Act.

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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

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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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

Several species of root-knot nematodes [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood, M. arenaria (Neal) Chitwood, M. javanica (Treub) Chitwood, and M. hapla Chitwood] are major pests of peppers (Capsicum spp.) in the United States and worldwide. Resistance to M. incognita, M. arenaria, and M. javanica has been identified in several Capsicum accessions, but there are few reports of resistance to M. hapla. Therefore, we selected a 10% core (440 accessions) of the 14 available Capsicum spp. in the Capsicum germplasm collection (3,731 accessions) maintained by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), and evaluated this core for resistance to M. hapla in unreplicated greenhouse tests. The 11 best (most resistant) and the 3 worst (most susceptible) accessions identified in these unreplicated tests were re-evaluated in a replicated greenhouse test. Seven of these 11 “best” accessions (PI 357613, PI 357503, PI 439381, PI 297493, PI 430490, PI 267729, and PI 441676) exhibited root gall severity indices <5.0 (1 = no galls; 9 = more than 80% of the root system covered with galls) in the replicated test, and each of these indices was significantly lower than the indices of the “worst” accessions and susceptible controls. Although a gall index <5.0 indicates a moderate level of resistance, more than 3000 M. hapla eggs were extracted per gram of fresh root tissue and the reproductive index was >1.0 for each of these accessions. These observations suggest that the most resistant accessions tested are somewhat susceptible to M. hapla. The results of our evaluation of a core of the USDA Capsicum germplasm collection demonstrates clearly that there is significant genetic variability within the overall collection for M. hapla resistance. Additionally, these results identify portions of the collection where future evaluations for M. hapla resistance should be focused. For example, the origin of the two most promising C. annuum accessions (PI 357613 and PI 357503) in the core was Yugoslavia. Thus, additional accessions from this temperate region of the world should receive priority attention in any effort to identify better sources of resistance in C. annuum to M. hapla.

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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.