Effectiveness of a detached‐leaf assay as a proxy for stem inoculations in backcrossed chestnut (Castanea) blight resistance breeding populations
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A recently developed detached-leaf blight resistance assay has generated interest because it could reduce the amount of time needed to evaluate backcrossed hybrid trees in the American chestnut blight resistance breeding programme. We evaluated the leaf inoculation technique on a sample of advanced progeny from the Indiana state chapter American Chestnut Foundation breeding programme, along with susceptible American chestnut (Castanea dentata), the recurrent parent, and resistant Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima), the donor parent for blight resistance. In experiments over 2 years using two pathogen isolates, we found no biologically meaningful relationship between leaf lesion size and the size (length and width) or severity (1-5 canker severity rating) of stem cankers on 5-year-old trees. Chinese chestnuts did develop significantly smaller leaf lesions than American or backcrossed chestnuts. We conclude that while the detached-leaf assay may have utility in some chestnut breeding applications, it is not a suitable proxy for the established practice of stem inoculations.
Keywordschestnut blight resistance screening and breeding
LaBonte, N.R.; McKenna, J.R.; Woeste, K. 2016. Effectiveness of a detached‐leaf assay as a proxy for stem inoculations in backcrossed chestnut (Castanea) blight resistance breeding populations. Forest Pathology. 7 p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/efp.12313