QTL mapping of fire blight resistance in Malus x robusta 5 after inoculation with different strains of Erwinia amylovora
Fire blight caused by Erwinia amylovora is one of the most disastrous diseases in apple production. Whereas most apple cultivars are susceptible to fire blight, several wild apple species accessions like Malus ×robusta 5 (Mr5) bear significant resistance. The resistance of Mr5 is mainly inherited by a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) on linkage group 3. QTL mapping was performed after inoculation of the population 04208 (Idared × Mr5) using strains differing in their virulence to Mr5. The QTL mapping approach demonstrated that the major QTL on linkage group 3 could be confirmed after inoculation with strains non-virulent to Mr5. In contrast, the major QTL disappeared after inoculation with strains virulent to Mr5. Only after inoculation with the resistance breaking strain Ea 3049 was a minor QTL with a LOD >3 found on linkage group 3. Additionally, several minor QTLs were detected on linkage groups 5, 7, 11 and 14 of Mr5 after inoculation with virulent strains able to overcome the major resistance QTL of Mr5. Their usefulness for further breeding activities will be discussed. The strain-specific results obtained in the present study provide further evidence for the existence of gene-for-gene relationships in the host–pathogen system Mr5–E. amylovora. Of the newly discovered minor QTLs, the one detected on LG7 contributes significantly to fire blight resistance in the presence of the major QTL, independently of the strain used.