Baby leaf lettuce cultivars with resistance to bacterial leaf spot (BLS) caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. vitians (Xcv) are needed to reduce crop losses. The objectives of this research were to assess the genetic diversity for BLS resistance in baby leaf lettuce cultivars and to select early generation populations of lettuce with BLS resistance. Greenhouse experiments using artificial Xcv inoculations were conducted to assess BLS resistance in 35 cultivars of 10 lettuce types used in baby leaf production and in F2 through F3:4 progeny from 'Batavia Reine des Glaces' (BLS-resistant, green leaf color)× 'Eruption' (BLS-susceptible, red leaf color). Higher disease severity was identified in red leaf and red romaine cultivars compared with other types, indicating the need to target these types for resistance breeding. Selection for BLS resistance and red-colored leaves was therefore conducted among 486 F2 plants, 38 F2:3 families, and two populations of F3:4 families from 'Batavia Reine des Glaces' × 'Eruption'. Two populations were identified with uniform levels of BLS resistance equivalent to 'Batavia Reine des Glaces' and variable leaf morphology and color. These populations can be used by private and publicly employed lettuce breeders to select for diverse types of lettuce cultivars suitable for baby leaf production and with BLS resistance.
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