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Michelle L. Paynter, Joanne De Faveri and Mark E. Herrington

Fusarium wilt of strawberry, incited by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae (Fof), is a major disease of the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) worldwide. An increase in disease outbreaks of the pathogen in Western Australia and Queensland plus the search for alternative disease management strategies place emphasis on the development of resistant cultivars. In response, a partial incomplete diallel cross involving four parents was performed for use in glasshouse resistance screenings. The resulting progeny were evaluated for their susceptibility to Fof. Best-performing progeny and suitability of progenies as parents were determined using data from disease severity ratings and analyzed using a linear mixed model incorporating a pedigree to produce best linear unbiased predictions of breeding values. Variation in disease response, ranging from highly susceptible to resistant, indicates a quantitative effect. The estimate of the narrow-sense heritability was 0.49 ± 0.04 (se), suggesting the population should be responsive to phenotypic recurrent selection. Several progeny genotypes have predicted breeding values higher than any of the parents. Knowledge of Fof resistance derived from this study can help select best parents for future crosses for the development of new strawberry cultivars with Fof resistance.

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Michelle L. Paynter, Elizabeth Czislowski, Mark E. Herrington and Elizabeth A.B. Aitken

Variation in the virulence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae (Fof) strains is important when evaluating the resistance of plants to this fungus. Twenty-five isolates of F. oxysporum harvested from strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) plants growing in Australia were characterized using pathogenicity tests, vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs), and genetic analysis of translation elongation factor 1 alpha (EF-1α). The level of disease varied depending on isolate used, indicating heterogeneous populations of Fof. Two distinct VCGs were identified and corresponded to two of the 10 lineages identified by partial EF-1α. Using a subset of Fof isolates, resistance in eight cultivars ranged from highly resistant to highly susceptible, with some cultivar × isolate interaction. ‘Strawberry Festival’, ‘QHI Sugarbaby’, and ‘DPI Rubygem’ had high levels of resistance across all isolates. Isolates from Western Australia (WA) were genetically distinct from those from Queensland (QLD) and were more virulent to ‘Camarosa’, a major cultivar grown in WA.

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Mark Herrington, Jodi Neal, Louella Woolcock, Michelle Paynter, Apollo Gomez and Joanne De Faveri