Ten years of VINQUEST: first findings
Apple scab, caused by Venturia inaequalis, is a major disease worldwide. To control this disease, up to 20-25 fungicide applications may be needed depending on the year and the production system. Cultivation of scab-resistant apple cultivars would reduce the chemical footprint of apple production. Breeding for durable scab resistance is an objective of most apple breeding programmes. One way to achieve durable resistance is to pyramid multiple apple scab resistance genes in a cultivar. Currently, more than 18 different apple scab resistance genes have been reported. Molecular markers are available for most of these and can be used to select seedlings carrying multiple resistance genes. Apple scab isolates are virulent to specific apple scab resistance genes. Choice of optimal resistance genes for use in a breeding program, should therefore take regional presence of these apple scab isolates into consideration. In order to learn more about the geographical distribution of apple scab isolates, the VINQUEST project (www.vinquest.ch) was initiated in 2009. Ten years after the launch of this initiative, 24 partners from 14 countries are regularly contributing data. Results obtained from the data collected during the first 10 years provide the first insights into which apple scab resistance genes may hold most promise for breeding cultivars with durable resistance.