Start Date: Apr 25, 2008
End Date: Apr 24, 2013
Diseases and abiotic stresses (drought, low soil fertility) affecting edible legumes, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas, result in costly losses to farmers exceeding $100 million annually. Management of soilborne diseases is extremely challenging, because the same pathogens can affect several legumes grown in the same rotation, and the pathogens persist in the soil over many years. Resistant cultivars provide growers with a cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly way to control most disease and abiotic stress problems. Breeding for resistance, however, is difficult due to the paucity of resistance sources, specifically for soilborne diseases, and lack of information concerning inheritance. Improved management of problematic soilborne diseases is predicated upon a better understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of each pathogen. The objectives of this research are to integrate marker-assisted (MAS) selection with traditional breeding approaches to develop bean germplasm with enhanced levels of disease and abiotic stress resistance, and to improve disease management practices for several soilborne diseases of edible legumes. Novel disease and abiotic stress resistance genes/QTL will be identified, characterized across environments, validated in different genetic backgrounds, and molecular markers with application for MAS of such resistance will be developed and used to breed edible legume germplasm with enhanced resistance. A basis for the improvement of sustainable disease management strategies will be formed through the integration of genetic resistance, chemical and cultural tactics, and improved understanding of the epidemiology and population biology of several economically important pathogens of edible legumes.