For the viticulture of the future, it will be an essential prerequisite to manage grapevine diseases with fewer chemical inputs. The development and the deployment of novel mildew resistant varieties are considered one of the most promising strategies towards a sustainable viticulture. In this regard, a collection of 102 accessions derived from crossing Vitis hybrids with V. vinifera varieties was studied. In addition to the true-to-type analysis, an exhaustive genetic characterization was carried out at the 11 reliable mildew resistance (R) loci available in the literature to date. Our findings highlight the pyramiding of R-loci against downy mildew in 15.7% and against powdery mildew in 39.2% of the total accessions. The genetic analysis was coupled with a three-year evaluation of disease symptoms in an untreated field in order to assess the impact of the R-loci arrangement on the disease resistance degree at leaf and bunch level. Overall, our results strongly suggest that R-loci pyramiding does not necessarily mean to increase the overall disease resistance, but it guarantees the presence of further barriers in case of pathogens overcoming the first. Moreover, our survey allows the discovery of new mildew resistance sources useful for novel QTL identifications towards marker-assisted breeding.
Keywords: Erysiphe necator; Plasmopara viticola; disease resistance loci; grapevine; marker-assisted breeding; pyramiding.