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Le Roux P.M.,Plant Protection and Extension Fruits and Vegetables | Le Roux P.M.,ETH Zurich | Flachowsky H.,Julius Kuhn Institute | Jansch M.,Plant Protection and Extension Fruits and Vegetables | And 3 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2014

Fire blight, caused by Erwinia amylovora, is a major concern in apple production since no existing control option has been proven to be completely effective and durable. The use of resistant apple cultivars in apple production could and should be an importance piece of an integrated management of the disease. High levels of resistance to Erwinia amylovora have been found in wild or ornamental apples like 'Evereste'. Recent studies showed that this resistance is largely controlled by a single QTL. However, no advanced selections carrying this QTL (FbE locus) and displaying satisfactory fruit quality and agronomic performance are yet available. In order to remove all the undesired traits present in a wild apple up to five (pseudo)backcrosses are necessary. Considering that the juvenile phase of apple lasts at least 4-5 years, this can take 20-25 years. Recently, a breeding technology based on the early flowering BpMADS4-transgenic line T1190 was presented. Using this line, the selection of pre-breeding genotypes carrying the FbE locus was started in 2009. In each generation foreground selection using molecular markers associated with the locus FbE and the transgene BpMADS4 was used to identify the seedlings to consider as parents in the next crosses once these started producing flowers (generally within 2 to 5 months after seed planting). Starting from the BC'1 generation, background selection based on SSR markers was also applied on early flowering FbE seedlings. The current status of the introduction of the FbE locus as well as observations and methods applied to increase the efficiency of the approach will be presented.

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