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  • Author or Editor: Michael Glos x
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Cucurbit downy mildew, a disease caused by the oomycete pathogen Pseudoperonospora cubensis (Berk. & Curt.) Rostov., is a serious threat to cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) production worldwide and can result in 100% yield losses in affected environments. In the last decade, strains of the pathogen have overcome the resistance of commercial cultivars in the United States, and currently no cultivar has robust resistance to the disease. This lack of resistance has been especially problematic for cucumber growers seeking to capture the late-season market, when downy mildew is ubiquitous throughout Eastern and Great Lakes production environments. Our objectives were to identify sources of resistance genes and to introgress these genes into high-quality, high-yielding breeding material. Using the moderately resistant cucumber cultivars Marketmore 97 and Ivory Queen as well as the Cornell-developed cultivars Platinum and Salt & Pepper, we have developed lines with excellent disease resistance. In a trial of 27 lines that included Cornell breeding material and the most resistant cultivars and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) accessions identified in previous studies, the Cornell breeding line DMR-NY264 had the highest level of downy mildew resistance and the highest yields under disease pressure. In New York, plants of DMR-NY 264 produced fruit until frost without fungicide application.

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‘Marketmore 97’ is the most recent addition to a series of disease-resistant slicing cucumbers developed in the Cornell University Department of Plant Breeding. The fruit have green skin with white spines and an average length and diameter of 18.8 cm and 4.8 cm, respectively. Broad resistance to a number of destructive diseases and insects makes this cultivar well-suited to low-input agricultural systems at the scale of the home gardener or the commercial grower. In addition to the cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), cucumber scab (Cladosporium cucumerinum Ell. & Arth.), downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis Berk & Curtis), and powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fuliginea Schl. ex Fr.) resistances of ‘Marketmore 76’, ‘Marketmore 97’ contains resistance to alternaria leaf spot [Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keis.], Ulocladium leaf spot (Ulocladium cucurbitae Let. & Roum.), target leaf spot (Corynespora cassiicola Berk. & Curt.), watermelon mosaic virus, papaya ringspot virus, and zucchini yellow mosaic virus. Furthermore, the bitterfree character of this cultivar is responsible for nonpreference of the striped cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittatum Fab.) and spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi Barber). Finally, a near isogenic line of ‘Marketmore 97’ is available that is gynoecious. A replicated trial of ‘Marketmore 97’ conducted in New York in 2006 confirmed comparable yield and quality to other Marketmore cultivars.

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