Revisiting strategies for breeding anthracnose resistance in lentil: the case with wild species
Breeders at the Crop Development Centre (CDC) have up to now only used germplasm resources available in the cultivated lentil to develop new varieties with resistance to diseases. Based on recent studies, the available cultivated germplasm does not offer sufficient genetic variation for resistance to anthracnose and ascochyta diseases. Lentil crop is attacked by two major diseases (anthracnose and ascochyta) that can cause 100% loss in the worst scenarios. Since anthracnose is only a major lentil disease in North America, no work has been done to improve resistance to this disease elsewhere. Wild species of many crops are known to carry many disease resistance genes lacking in the cultivated crop. We began the search for anthracnose resistance in the six wild species of lentil (world collection), of which two can be easily crossed with the cultivated type. Two strains of anthracnose (race 1 and race 2) with varying degrees of virulence were reported. The 2002 field data suggested that some of the Lens ervoides and Lens lamottei accessions exhibited no lesions at all when exposed to the combination of the two anthracnose strains. The cultivated types that show resistance to the less virulent strain were severely affected by anthracnose. In the greenhouse study the wild species were inoculated with the two strains separately and results indicate that no accession is immune to the more virulent type. However, some of the L. ervoides and L. lamottei accessions had good resistance compared to their cultivated counterparts. As a long term strategy, the lentil breeding program at CDC, University of Saskatchewan has a goal of fully utilizing the available resistance sources. However, these two species cannot be easily crossed with the cultivated types using the conventional/manual crossing techniques. A tissue culture procedure involving embryo rescue is used to facilitate crossing. We have been able to successfully rescue some embryos from crosses with Lens ervoides. The hybrid plants produce some fertile seeds which will be evaluated for resistance to both anthracnose and ascochyta. The selected resistant lines will then be backcrossed to the adopted backgrounds in order to deploy resistance genes.
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