Evaluation and genome-wide association study of resistance to bacterial blight race 18 in U.S. Upland cotton germplasm.
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Bacterial blight (BB), caused by Xanthomonas citripv.malvacearum (Xcm), is a destructive disease to cotton production in many countries. In the U.S., Xcm race 18 is the most virulent and widespread race and can cause serious yield losses. Planting BB-resistant cotton cultivars is the most effective method of controlling this disease. In this study, 335 U.S. Upland cotton accessions were evaluated for resistance to race 18 using artificial inoculations by scratching cotyledons on an individual plant basis in a greenhouse. The analysis of variance detected significant genotypic variation in disease incidence, and 50 accessions were resistant including 38 lines with no symptoms on either cotyledons or true leaves. Many of the resistant lines were developed in the MAR (multi-adversity resistance) breeding program at Texas A&M University, whereas others were developed before race 18 was first reported in the U.S. in 1973, suggesting a broad base of resistance to race 18. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) based on 26,301 single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) markers detected 11 quantitative trait loci (QTL) anchored by 79 SNPs, including three QTL on each of the three chromosomes A01, A05 and D02, and one QTL on each of D08 and D10. This study has identified a set of obsolete Upland germplasm with resistance to race 18 and specific chromosomal regions delineated by SNPs for resistance. The results will assist in breeding cotton for BB resistance and facilitate furthergenomic studies in fine mapping resistance genes to enhance the understanding of the genetic basis of BB resistance in cotton.