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  • Author or Editor: Colleen Kennedy x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Powdery mildew (PM) of strawberry (Fragaria sp.) is a ubiquitous, wind-spread disease caused by the obligate parasite Podosphaera aphanis. To control PM, multiple fungicide applications are necessary each season, and none of the major cultivars in Florida have high levels of resistance. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to observe the response to selection and to estimate genetic parameters for PM and related traits in the University of Florida breeding population. In 2010, clonally replicated individuals from seven biparental crosses arising from 11 parents were included in a field trial in which clonally replicated seedlings were evaluated visually for percent coverage of PM mycelium using a modified Horsfall-Barratt scale of 0 to 6. Broad- (H2) and narrow-sense (h2) heritabilities for PM score were (mean ± se) 0.50 ± 0.08 and 0.40 ± 0.39, respectively, for the base population. After the second round of selection in the resistant population, no additive variance was detected, indicating that alleles for PM resistance had become fixed. In contrast, after two rounds of divergent selection in the susceptible population, there remained considerable additive variance (h2 = 0.42 ± 0.65). Moderate to high heritability estimates and a clear response to selection indicate that resistance to PM is genetically controlled through mostly additive effects. Selection of parents based on field trials with natural inoculum should result in good progress toward more resistant cultivars. The consistently moderate to strong genotypic and genetic correlations among PM and canopy density (CD) indicate that selection for PM resistance will result in reduced CD. Therefore, CD must be monitored over successive rounds of selection for low levels of PM to prevent CD falling below the commercially acceptable range.

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