Inheritance of Resistance to Pratylenchus penetrans in Alfalfa


  • Judy A. Thies
  • Daniel Basigalup
  • Donald K. Barnes


Fifty-two alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) clones, randomly selected from the cultivar Baker and the experimental line MNGRN-4, were evaluated for resistance (based on nematode reproduction) to Pratylenchus penetrans in growth chamber tests (25 C). Twenty-five clones, representing the range of nematodes and eggs per plant, were selected and retested. Four moderately resistant and two susceptible alfalfa clones were identified. Inheritance of resistance to P. penetrans was studied in these six clones using a diallel mating design. The S[sub1], F[subl], and reciprocal progenies differed for numbers of nematodes and eggs per g dry root and for shoot and root weights (P 0.05). Resistance, measured as numbers of nematodes in roots, was correlated between parental clones and their S[sub1] families (r = 0.94), parental clones and their half-sib families (r = 0.81), and S[sub1] and half-sib families (r = 0.88). General combining ability (GCA) effects were significant for nematode resistance traits. Both GCA and specific combining ability (SCA) effects were significant for plant size traits, but SCA was more important than GCA in predicting progeny plant size. Reciprocal effects were significant for both nematode resistance and plant size traits, which may slow selection progress in long-term selection programs. However, the GCA effects are large enough that breeding procedures that capitalize on additive effects should be effective in developing alfalfa cultivars with resistance to P. penetrans. Key words: alfalfa, inheritance of resistance, Medicago sativa, Pratylenchus penetrans, nematode, nematode resistance, root-lesion nematode.