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Breeding crisphead lettuce for rib blight resistance


, : Breeding crisphead lettuce for rib blight resistance. Hortscience 38(5): 783, August

Midsummer crisphead lettuce grows under temperatures often greater than the optimal 7 to 24degreeC range, and heads frequently develop physiological disorders. Rib blight is a physiological disorder, which results in important losses in lettuce quality. A breeding program was established in 1998 at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to create a crisphead lettuce variety resistant to rib blight and other heat-related physiological disorders, such as bolting, ribbiness and tipburn. Breeding for resistance to physiological disorders is often difficult since their symptoms are triggered by specific environmental conditions that may or may not be present in the field. First crosses were made in 1998 after screening for sources of resistance to rib blight. Since then, more than 1000 crosses were performed. Progeny lines were seeded in the greenhouse and transplanted in commercial and experimental fields for evaluation. At optimal maturity, lettuce heads showing no rib blight symptoms and good agronomic characteristics were selected and prepared for in vitro culture. Both axillary and apical meristems were cultured. After rooting and acclimation, the in vitro plants were grown in the greenhouse during fall and winter and harvested for seeds. Two generations a year were obtained. Elisa tests were performed to test for Lettuce Mosaic Virus. Several advanced lines are currently under evaluation.

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