Early blight, caused by Alternaria solani Sorauer, is a serious disease of potatoes that occurs in most potato-growing regions in the world. There is little resistance to early blight among commercial potato cultivars. However, resistance to early blight in diploid (Solanum phureja-S. stenotomum) potatoes has been identified, and was found to be highly heritable and readily transferred to the tetraploid level via 4x-2x crosses. The purposes of this study were to identify good levels of early blight resistance in open-pollinated 4x-2x (Solanum tuberosum x S. phureja- S. stenotomum) hybrids selected for horticultural characteristics, to estimate broad-sense heritability for early blight resistance in these hybrids, and to investigate the general and specific combining ability for resistance to early blight from some of these early blight resistant tetraploid selections. Four early blight resistant clones were crossed as female parents with four different male parents in a design II mating scheme to generate 16 families. Approximately 20 randomly chosen offspring per family were visually evaluated for early blight resistance in 1995 and 1996 in a randomized complete block design in Pennsylvania. Broad-sense heritability for early blight resistance among the open-pollinated 4x-2x hybrids which were originally selected for horticultural characteristics was 0.91 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.80, 0.94. There were significant differences among female and male parents for area under the disease progress curve, indicating the importance of general combining ability for early blight resistance in this germplasm. The female x male source of variation was not significant, indicating that specific combining ability was not important. The greatest number of resistant progeny were observed in families where both parents were derived from the early blight resistant population; however, at least one highly resistant progeny was produced in all families. These results suggest that the early blight resistance in these clones can be readily incorporated into the commercial tetraploid breeding population.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science