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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jun 1;107(22):10302-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0913160107. Epub 2010 May 17.

Genome-wide survey of Arabidopsis natural variation in downy mildew resistance using combined association and linkage mapping.

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Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom.


The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana exhibits extensive natural variation in resistance to parasites. Immunity is often conferred by resistance (R) genes that permit recognition of specific races of a disease. The number of such R genes and their distribution are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the basis for resistance to the downy mildew agent Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis ex parasitica (Hpa) in a global sample of A. thaliana. We implemented a combined genome-wide mapping of resistance using populations of recombinant inbred lines and a collection of wild A. thaliana accessions. We tested the interaction between 96 host genotypes collected worldwide and five strains of Hpa. Then, a fraction of the species-wide resistance was genetically dissected using six recently constructed populations of recombinant inbred lines. We found that resistance is usually governed by single dominant R genes that are concentrated in four genomic regions only. We show that association genetics of resistance to diseases such as downy mildew enables increased mapping resolution from quantitative trait loci interval to candidate gene level. Association patterns in quantitative trait loci intervals indicate that the pool of A. thaliana resistance sources against the tested Hpa isolates may be predominantly confined to six RPP (Resistance to Hpa) loci isolated in previous studies. Our results suggest that combining association and linkage mapping could accelerate resistance gene discovery in plants.

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