A major QTL corresponding to the Rk locus for resistance to root-knot nematodes in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.)

Theor Appl Genet. 2016 Jan;129(1):87-95. doi: 10.1007/s00122-015-2611-0. Epub 2015 Oct 8.


Genome resolution of a major QTL associated with the Rk locus in cowpea for resistance to root-knot nematodes has significance for plant breeding programs and R gene characterization. Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) is a susceptible host of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) (RKN), major plant-parasitic pests in global agriculture. To date, breeding for host resistance in cowpea has relied on phenotypic selection which requires time-consuming and expensive controlled infection assays. To facilitate marker-based selection, we aimed to identify and map quantitative trait loci (QTL) conferring the resistance trait. One recombinant inbred line (RIL) and two F2:3 populations, each derived from a cross between a susceptible and a resistant parent, were genotyped with genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. The populations were screened in the field for root-galling symptoms and/or under growth-chamber conditions for nematode reproduction levels using M. incognita and M. javanica biotypes. One major QTL was mapped consistently on linkage group VuLG11 of each population. By genotyping additional cowpea lines and near-isogenic lines derived from conventional backcrossing, we confirmed that the detected QTL co-localized with the genome region associated with the Rk locus for RKN resistance that has been used in conventional breeding for many decades. This chromosomal location defined with flanking markers will be a valuable target in marker-assisted breeding and for positional cloning of genes controlling RKN resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Disease Resistance / genetics*
  • Fabaceae / genetics*
  • Fabaceae / parasitology
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genotype
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Diseases / genetics*
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / parasitology
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Tylenchoidea*