Status and advances in mining for blackleg (Leptosphaeria maculans) quantitative resistance (QR) in oilseed rape (Brassica napus)

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Key message: Quantitative resistance (QR) loci discovered through genetic and genomic analyses are abundant in the Brassica napus genome, providing an opportunity for their utilization in enhancing blackleg resistance. Abstract: Quantitative resistance (QR) has long been utilized to manage blackleg in Brassica napus (canola, oilseed rape), even before major resistance genes (R-genes) were extensively explored in breeding programmes. In contrast to R-gene-mediated qualitative resistance, QR reduces blackleg symptoms rather than completely eliminating the disease. As a polygenic trait, QR is controlled by numerous genes with modest effects, which exerts less pressure on the pathogen to evolve; hence, its effectiveness is more durable compared to R-gene-mediated resistance. Furthermore, combining QR with major R-genes has been shown to enhance resistance against diseases in important crops, including oilseed rape. For these reasons, there has been a renewed interest among breeders in utilizing QR in crop improvement. However, the mechanisms governing QR are largely unknown, limiting its deployment. Advances in genomics are facilitating the dissection of the genetic and molecular underpinnings of QR, resulting in the discovery of several loci and genes that can be potentially deployed to enhance blackleg resistance. Here, we summarize the efforts undertaken to identify blackleg QR loci in oilseed rape using linkage and association analysis. We update the knowledge on the possible mechanisms governing QR and the advances in searching for the underlying genes. Lastly, we lay out strategies to accelerate the genetic improvement of blackleg QR in oilseed rape using improved phenotyping approaches and genomic prediction tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3123–3145
Number of pages23
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number10
Early online date9 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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