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Article|01 Dec 2019|OPEN
Minor alleles are associated with white rust (Albugo occidentalis) susceptibility in spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
Henry O. Awika1, Thiago G. Marconi1, Renesh Bedre1, Kranthi K. Mandadi1,2 & Carlos A. Avila1,3,
1Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Weslaco, TX 78596, USA
2Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, College Station, TX 77843, USA
3Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA

Horticulture Research 6,
Article number: 19129 (2019)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2019.129
Views: 125

Received: 25 Aug 2019
Revised: 29 Oct 2019
Accepted: 03 Nov 2019
Published online: 01 Dec 2019


Minor alleles (MA) have been associated with disease incidence in human studies, enabling the identification of diagnostic risk factors for various diseases. However, allelic mapping has rarely been performed in plant systems. The goal of this study was to determine whether a difference in MA prevalence is a strong enough risk factor to indicate a likely significant difference in disease resistance against white rust (WR; Albugo occidentalis) in spinach (Spinacia oleracea). We used WR disease severity ratings (WR-DSRs) in a diversity panel of 267 spinach accessions to define resistant- and susceptibility-associated groups within the distribution scores and then tested the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants to interrogate the MA prevalence in the most susceptible (MS) vs. most resistant (MR) individuals using permutation-based allelic association tests. A total of 448 minor alleles associated with WR severity were identified in the comparison between the 25% MS and the 25% MR accessions, while the MA were generally similar between the two halves of the interquartile range. The minor alleles in the MS group were distributed across all six chromosomes and made up ~71% of the markers that were also strongly associated with WR in parallel performed genome-wide association study. These results indicate that susceptibility may be highly determined by the disproportionate overrepresentation of minor alleles, which could be used to select for resistant plants. Furthermore, by focusing on the distribution tails, allelic mapping could be used to identify plant markers associated with quantitative traits on the most informative segments of the phenotypic distribution.