Diallel analyses reveal the genetic control of resistance to ascochyta blight in diverse chickpea and wild cicer species


Ascochyta blight is a major fungal disease affecting chickpea production worldwide. The genetics of ascochyta blight resistance was studied in five 5 × 5 half-diallel cross sets involving seven genotypes of chickpea (ICC 3996, Almaz, Lasseter, Kaniva, 24B-Isoline, IG 9337 and Kimberley Large), three accessions of Cicer reticulatum (ILWC 118, ILWC 139 and ILWC 184) and one accession of C. echinospermum (ILWC 181) under field conditions. Both F1 and F2 generations were used in the diallel analysis. The disease was rated in the field using a 1–9 scale. Almaz, ICC 3996 and ILWC 118 were the most resistant (rated 3–4) and all other genotypes were susceptible (rated 6–9) to ascochyta blight. Estimates of genetic parameters, following Hayman’s method, showed significant additive and dominant gene actions. The analysis also revealed the involvement of both major and minor genes. Susceptibility was dominant over resistance to ascochyta blight. The recessive alleles were concentrated in the two resistant chickpea parents ICC 3996 and Almaz, and one C. reticulatum genotype ILWC 118. The wild Cicer accessions may have different major or minor resistant genes compared to the cultivated chickpea. High narrow-sense heritability (ranging from 82% to 86% for F1 generations, and 43% to 63% for F2 generations) indicates that additive gene effects were more important than non-additive gene effects in the inheritance of the trait and greater genetic gain can be achieved in the breeding of resistant chickpea cultivars by using carefully selected parental genotypes.



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