Annu Rev Phytopathol 2010 ;48:247-68
Plant Sciences Department, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.
Quantitative disease resistance (QDR) has been observed within many crop plants but is not as well understood as qualitative (monogenic) disease resistance and has not been used as extensively in breeding. Mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) is a powerful tool for genetic dissection of QDR. DNA markers tightly linked to quantitative resistance loci (QRLs) controlling QDR can be used for marker-assisted selection (MAS) to incorporate these valuable traits. QDR confers a reduction, rather than lack, of disease and has diverse biological and molecular bases as revealed by cloning of QRLs and identification of the candidate gene(s) underlying QRLs. Increasing our biological knowledge of QDR and QRLs will enhance understanding of how QDR differs from qualitative resistance and provide the necessary information to better deploy these resources in breeding. Application of MAS for QRLs in breeding for QDR to diverse pathogens is illustrated by examples from wheat, barley, common bean, tomato, and pepper. Strategies for optimum deployment of QRLs require research to understand effects of QDR on pathogen populations over time.