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  • Author or Editor: Patricia Klein x
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Roots impact plants’ capacity to absorb water and nutrients and thus play a vital role in tolerance to drought, salinity, and nutrient stress. In tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) breeding programs, wild tomato species have been commonly used to increase disease resistance and fruit quality and yield. However, tomato has seldom been bred for water/nutrient use efficiency or resilience to abiotic stress. Meanwhile, little knowledge of the genetic control of root traits in tomato is available. In this study, a mapping population consisting of 181 F2 progenies derived from a cross between an advanced breeding line RvT1 (S. lycopersicum) and a wild species Lche4 (Solanum cheesmaniae) was evaluated for root and shoot traits in the greenhouse. Root phenotypes were studied for the early seedling stage. Heritability estimates show that root traits are moderately or highly heritable. Root mass was highly correlated with root size (length, surface area, and volume). Shoot mass and chlorophyll content (SPAD) were moderately correlated with root mass and size. Genotyping-by-sequencing was applied to discover single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Seven hundred and forty-two SNPs were successfully mapped, and a medium-dense linkage map was created that covered 1319.47 centimorgans (cM) with an average distance of 1.78 cM between adjacent markers. Using composite interval mapping, multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and nonparametric mapping, 29 QTLs were identified for 12 root and shoot traits on eight chromosomes. Those QTLs of major and minor effect were involved in the differences among the F2 population. Two QTL hotspot regions associated with root mass, size, shoot mass and SPAD were identified on chromosomes 1 and 4, which was consistent with the correlation among traits. Five QTLs for shoot length and eight QTLs for SPAD were accounting for 40.01% and 55.53% of the phenotypic variation. Two QTLs were associated with 18.26% of the total variation for specific root length. The wild parent Lche4 has been characterized as a potential genetic donor of higher specific root length and might be a good parent to modify the root system of cultivated tomato.

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Rose rosette disease (RRD) whose causal agent, the Emaravirus Rose rosette virus (RRV), was only recently identified has caused widespread death of roses in the midwestern and eastern sections of the United States. A national research team is working on the detection and best management practices for this highly damaging disease. Unfortunately, little is known about the host plant resistance to either the causal viral agent or its vector, the eriophyid mite Phyllocoptes fructiphilus. Thus far, the only confirmed resistance is among Rosa species. Of the over 600 rose cultivars observed, only 7% have not exhibited symptoms of RRD. Replicated trials are in progress to confirm resistance and/or susceptibility of ≈300 rose accessions in Tennessee and Delaware. Rose is a multispecies cultivated complex that consists of diploid, triploid, and tetraploid cultivars. The basic breeding cycle is 4 years with a 3-year commercial trial coupled with mass propagation before release. Thus, if only one breeding cycle is needed, a new cultivar could be produced in 7 years. Unfortunately, for the introgression of a new trait such as disease resistance from a related species into the commercial rose germplasm, multiple generations are required which can easily take two decades from the first cross to cultivar release. Research is ongoing to develop a rapid selection procedure for resistance to RRD with the aid of molecular markers associated with the resistance. Such an approach has the potential of reducing the breeding cycle time by 50% and increasing the efficiency of seedling and parental selection manifold, leading to commercially acceptable rose cultivars with high RRD resistance in less time and with less expense.

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