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Discovery and characterization of a molecular marker for Sclerotinia minor (Jagger) resistance in peanut

Chenault, Kelly D., Maas, Andrea L., Damicone, John P., Payton, Mark E., Melouk, Hassan A.
Euphytica 2009 v.166 no.3 pp. 357-365
Arachis hypogaea, peanuts, disease resistance, Sclerotinia minor, blight, fungal diseases of plants, genetic markers, microsatellite repeats, polymerase chain reaction, DNA primers, genotype
The production of cultivated peanut, an important agronomic crop throughout the United States and the world, is consistently threatened by various diseases and pests. Sclerotinia minor Jagger (S. minor), the causal agent of Sclerotinia blight, is a major threat to peanut production in the Southwestern US, Virginia and North Carolina. Although information on the variability of morphological traits associated with Sclerotinia blight resistance is plentiful, no molecular markers associated with resistance have been reported. The identification of markers would greatly assist peanut geneticists in selecting genotypes to be used in breeding programs. The main objective of this work was to use simple sequence repeat (SSR) primers previously reported for peanut to identify a molecular marker associated with resistance to S. minor. Out of 16 primer pairs used to examine peanut genomic DNA from 39 different genotypes, one pair produced bands at approximately 145 and 100 bp, consistent with either S. minor resistance or susceptibility, respectively. Cloning and sequencing of these bands revealed the region is well conserved among all genotypes tested with the exception of the length of the SSR region, which varies with disease resistance levels. This is the first report of a molecular marker associated with resistance to Sclerotinia blight in peanut. The identification of this marker and development of a PCR-based screening method will prove to be extremely useful to peanut breeders in screening germplasm collections and segregating populations as well as in pyramiding S. minor resistance with other desirable traits into superior peanut lines.