Current Status of the Availability, Development, and Use of Host Plant Resistance to Nematodes


  • Philip A. Roberts


Host plant resistance (HPR) to nematodes has been identified in many major crops and related wild germplasm. Most HPR is to the more specialized, sedentary endoparasitic genera and species, e.g., Globodera, Heterodera, Meloidogyne, Nacobbus, Rotylenchulus, and Tylenchulus. Some HPR has been developed or identified also to certain migratory endoparasites (Aphelenchoides, Ditylenchus, Pratylenchus, Radopholus) in a few hosts. Commercial use of HPR remains limited, despite its benefits to crop production when deployed appropriately. Restricted use and availability of HPR result from problems associated with transfer of resistance into acceptable cultivars. Difficulties occur in gene transfer to acceptable cultivars because of incompatibility barriers to hybridization or linkage to undesirable traits, for example in cucurbitaceous and solanaceous crops and sugarbeet. Specificity of HPR to only one species, or one or few pathotypes, as it relates to resistance durability and nematode virulence, and HPR response to abiotic factors such as high soil temperature, also limit availability and utility. A scheme for HPR development is presented to emphasize nematology research and information requirements for expanding HPR use in nematode control programs, for example in common bean, sugarbeet, and tomato. Nonbiological factors that influence HPR usage are discussed, including heavy reliance on nematicide programs, low priority of nematode HPR in many breeding programs, and insufficient breeder-nematologist collaboration. Key words: breeding, durability, gene, inheritance, nematode, pathotype, resistance, screening, selection, tolerance, virulence.