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Fukuoka S.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science | Saka N.,Mountainous Region Institute | Saka N.,Aichi Agricultural Research Center | Mizukami Y.,Mountainous Region Institute | And 9 more authors.
Scientific Reports | Year: 2015

Effective control of blast, a devastating fungal disease of rice, would increase and stabilize worldwide food production. Resistance mediated by quantitative trait loci (QTLs), which usually have smaller individual effects than R-genes but confer broad-spectrum or non-race-specific resistance, is a promising alternative to less durable race-specific resistance for crop improvement, yet evidence that validates the impact of QTL combinations (pyramids) on the durability of plant disease resistance has been lacking. Here, we developed near-isogenic experimental lines representing all possible combinations of four QTL alleles from a durably resistant cultivar. These lines enabled us to evaluate the QTLs singly and in combination in a homogeneous genetic background. We present evidence that pyramiding QTL alleles, each controlling a different response to M. oryzae, confers strong, non-race-specific, environmentally stable resistance to blast disease. Our results suggest that this robust defence system provides durable resistance, thus avoiding an evolutionary "arms race" between a crop and its pathogen.

Fukuoka S.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science | Mizobuchi R.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science | Saka N.,Mountainous Region Institute | Saka N.,Aichi Agricultural Research Center | And 5 more authors.
Theoretical and Applied Genetics | Year: 2012

Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for resistance to rice blast offer a potential source of durable disease resistance in rice. However, few QTLs have been validated in progeny testing, on account of their small phenotypic effects. To understand the genetic basis for QTL-mediated resistance to blast, we dissected a resistance QTL, qBR4-2, using advanced backcross progeny derived from a chromosome segment substitution line in which a 30- to 34-Mb region of chromosome 4 from the resistant cultivar Owarihatamochi was substituted into the genetic background of the highly susceptible Aichiasahi. The analysis resolved qBR4-2 into three loci, designated qBR4-2a, qBR4-2b, and qBR4-2c. The sequences of qBR4-2a and qBR4-2b, which lie 181 kb apart from each other and measure, 113 and 32 kb, respectively, appear to encode proteins with a putative nucleotide-binding site (NBS) and leucine-rich repeats (LRRs). Sequence analysis of the donor allele of qBR4-2a, the region with the largest effect among the three, revealed sequence variations in the NBS-LRR region. The effect of qBR4-2c was smallest among the three, but its combination with the donor alleles of qBR4-2a and qBR4-2b significantly enhanced blast resistance. qBR4-2 comprises three tightly linked QTLs that control blast resistance in a complex manner, and thus gene pyramiding or haplotype selection is the recommended strategy for improving QTL-mediated resistance to blast disease through the use of this chromosomal region. © 2012 The Author(s).

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