A GBS-SNP-based linkage map and quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum race 2 identified in Citrullus lanatus var. citroides.
Fusarium wilt, a fungal disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon), devastates watermelon crop production worldwide. Several races, which are differentiated by host range, of the pathogen exist. Resistance to Fon race 2, a particularly virulent strain prevalent in the United States, does not exist in edible cultivars of the sweet cultivated watermelon Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus (Cll) and has been well described in a few plant introductions of the wild subspecies of watermelon, C. lanatus var. citroides (Clc). Clc provides a vital source of genetic diversity, as well as resistance to numerous diseases. Unfortunately, both genetic diversity and disease resistance are lacking in Cll due to the narrow genetic base. Despite the importance of Clc to continued watermelon improvement, intra-variety genetic studies are lacking. Here, we present the first Clc genetic linkage map, generated with 2495 single nucleotide polymorphisms developed through genotyping-by-sequencing, and use it to identify quantitative trait loci associated with Fon race 2 resistance. Multiple QTL mapping in a Clc F2:3 population (N=173) identified one major and four minor QTL. The major QTL explained 43% of the variation in Fon race 2 resistance and was delimited to a 1.2-Mb interval on chromosome 9, a region spanning 44 genes.