Genetic Mapping of Tolerance to Bacterial Stem Blight Caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae in Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)

Yeidymar Sierra Moya, Cesar Medina, Bianca Herrera, Fabian Chamba, Long Xi Yu, Zhanyou Xu, Deborah A. Samac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bacterial stem blight of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), first reported in the United States in 1904, has emerged recently as a serious disease problem in the western states. The causal agent, Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, promotes frost damage and disease that can reduce first harvest yields by 50%. Resistant cultivars and an understanding of host-pathogen interactions are lacking in this pathosystem. With the goal of identifying DNA markers associated with disease resistance, we developed biparental F1 mapping populations using plants from the cultivar ZG9830. Leaflets of plants in the mapping populations were inoculated with a bacterial suspension using a needleless syringe and scored for disease symptoms. Bacterial populations were measured by culture plating and using a quantitative PCR assay. Surprisingly, leaflets with few to no symptoms had bacterial loads similar to leaflets with severe disease symptoms, indicating that plants without symptoms were tolerant to the bacterium. Genotyping-by-sequencing identified 11 significant SNP markers associated with the tolerance phenotype. This is the first study to identify DNA markers associated with tolerance to P. syringae. These results provide insight into host responses and provide markers that can be used in alfalfa breeding programs to develop improved cultivars to manage the bacterial stem blight of alfalfa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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  • Pseudomonas syringae
  • QTL mapping
  • alfalfa
  • bacterial plant pathogen
  • bacterial stem blight
  • biparental F1 mapping population
  • genotyping-by-sequencing
  • plant disease


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