New Approaches to Selecting Resistance or Tolerance to SDS and Fusarium Root Rot
Fusarial rots are a significant problem worldwide affecting roots (and sometimes fruits) of most major crops including soybean, maize and wheat. Cultivar variation in partial resistance or tolerance is widespread and significant. Different cultivars of the soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] have both resistance/tolerance to the leaf scorch known as Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and to the infection and root rot by the causal organism, Fusarium virguliforme (ex. F. solani f. sp glycines) hence the syndrome is composed of two diseases (1-3). Thirteen loci have been identified from analysis of 7 different crosses (2). Using new strains and new methods resistance loci in ‘Hartwig’ and ‘Forrest’, resistant cultivars clearly showed two loci underlie root resistance (lower LG G and D2) and four to eleven loci underlie leaf scorch resistance, depending on the cross made(eg, C2, F, I and upper G in ExF). Transcript abundance analysis of roots in response to F. virguliforme shows an orthologous set of transcripts accumulate during infection of resistant soybean cultivars and Arabidopsis thaliana that include the pathways leading to phenylpropanoid metabolism and its control, guanyl cylase a common second messenger and several transcription factors. Guanyl cyclase is also implicated in resistance in maize. In root disease resistance the genes implicated were known to be stress related. Therefore, A. thaliana is partially resistant and can be used to test both transgenes and mutants in candidate genes. Trangenics show fine maps to BACs have isolated some genes. For example, by fine mapping in NILs candidate genes underlying the controlling loci programming root resistance was a multi-stress resistance protein (lower G; Rfs1). For leaf scorch (Rfs4) an ascorbate peroxidase (C2) has been targeted. Also, Rfs2, a receptor like kinase (G) has been used to generate stable transgenic soybeans. Identification of the genes and loci conferring SDS resistance has provided options to breed improved cultivars with resistance to SDS.