Inheritance of resistance to Xylella fastidiosa within a Vitis rupestris x Vitis arizonica hybrid population
The inheritance of resistance to Xylella fastidiosa (Xf), the bacterium which causes Pierce's disease (PD) in grapevines, was evaluated within a factorial mating design consisting of 16 full-sib families with resistance derived from Vitis arizonica interspecific hybrids. Measurements of disease progression under greenhouse conditions were based on quantitative assessment of Xf populations in stem tissues and on three phenotypic scores: leaf scorch, a cane maturation index (CMI) and an index that incorporated shoot stunting into the cane maturation index (CMSSI). Measurement of bacterial populations yielded the highest broad-sense heritability for resistance on a genotype mean basis (0.97), indicating that this measure of resistance was the least effected by environmental variation. Narrow-sense heritability of PD resistance was moderately high and measured 0.52, 0.60, 0.63 and 0.37 for Xf populations, CMI scores, CMSSI scores and leaf scorch values, respectively. Complex segregation analysis using the computer program Statistical Analysis for Genetic Epidemiology (SAGE) strongly indicated the existence of a major gene for PD resistance, which accounted for 91% of the total genetic variance. Conversion of the quantitative data into qualitative resistance levels and evaluation via a chi-square analysis showed that 15 of the 16 families segregated in accordance with a single gene hypothesis with a dominant allele controlling PD resistance. These data indicate that the trait should be relatively easy to pass on from parents to progeny in a breeding program for the development of PD-resistant grape cultivars, particularly when selection is based on cane maturation scores or stem Xf populations.