Four field populations of Heterodera glycines tested for ability to reproduce on three host differentials were each classified into one of the recognized races. A fifth population represented a new race. Genetic analysis indicated that the designated races are actually field populations that differ from each other primarily in the frequencies of three groups of genes (genes for parasitism) that act quantitatively and control the ability of the nematode to reproduce on resistant P.I. 88788, Pickett, and P.I. 90763 soybeans. Populations of race-3 have none of these genes for parasitism, or they have some in low frequency that results in an index of parasitism of less than 10 on any one of the resistant soybeans. Race-1 has a high frequency of one group of genes that enable it to reproduce on P.I. 88788. Race-2 has two groups of genes for parasitism in high frequency; one for P.I. 88788, and one for Pickett. Based on these findings, it was assumed that race-4 has three groups of genes for parasitism; one for P.I. 88788, one for Pickett, and one for P.I. 90763. Additional races may be recognized when new genes are identified, or when new gene combinations are discovered. The ability to reproduce on P. I. 88788 is inherited independently from the ability to reproduce on Pickett. Although the genetic structure of field populations does not provide a solid foundation for race designation, recognizing races under the present system may be useful when it clearly characterizes the behavior of field populations. Race designations, however, should be regarded as provisional since gene frequencies change with time in response to selection forces and, therefore, the race status of a population may change accordingly.
Keywords: cyst nematodes; genes for parasitism; index of parasitism.