Genome-wide association (GWA) mapping has recently emerged as a valuable approach for refining the genetic basis of polygenic resistance to plant diseases, which are increasingly used in integrated strategies for durable crop protection. Aphanomyces euteiches is a soil-borne pathogen of pea and other legumes worldwide, which causes yield-damaging root rot. Linkage mapping studies reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling resistance to A. euteiches in pea. However the confidence intervals (CIs) of these QTL remained large and were often linked to undesirable alleles, which limited their application in breeding. The aim of this study was to use a GWA approach to validate and refine CIs of the previously reported Aphanomyces resistance QTL, as well as identify new resistance loci.
A pea-Aphanomyces collection of 175 pea lines, enriched in germplasm derived from previously studied resistant sources, was evaluated for resistance to A. euteiches in field infested nurseries in nine environments and with two strains in climatic chambers. The collection was genotyped using 13,204 SNPs from the recently developed GenoPea Infinium® BeadChip.
GWA analysis detected a total of 52 QTL of small size-intervals associated with resistance to A. euteiches, using the recently developed Multi-Locus Mixed Model. The analysis validated six of the seven previously reported main Aphanomyces resistance QTL and detected novel resistance loci. It also provided marker haplotypes at 14 consistent QTL regions associated with increased resistance and highlighted accumulation of favourable haplotypes in the most resistant lines. Previous linkages between resistance alleles and undesired late-flowering alleles for dry pea breeding were mostly confirmed, but the linkage between loci controlling resistance and coloured flowers was broken due to the high resolution of the analysis. A high proportion of the putative candidate genes underlying resistance loci encoded stress-related proteins and others suggested that the QTL are involved in diverse functions.
This study provides valuable markers, marker haplotypes and germplasm lines to increase levels of partial resistance to A. euteiches in pea breeding.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-016-2429-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.