Genetic Analysis and Breeding as Tools for Sustainable Management of Neopestalotiopsis sp. Outbreaks in Strawberry

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2023: $13,660.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2025
Grant Recipient: University of Florida
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Vance Whitaker
University of Florida


  • Fruits: berries (strawberries)


  • Crop Production: plant breeding and genetics
  • Pest Management: genetic resistance, integrated pest management

    Proposal abstract:

    Recently, strawberry growers in Florida have incurred severe yield losses due to unprecedented outbreaks of leaf spot and fruit rot caused by a new species of Neopestalotiopsis. The failure of most fungicides registered for strawberry and the susceptibility of current cultivars demand breeding for improved genetic resistance. Fortunately, the University of Florida strawberry breeding program has identified a source of resistance to Neopestalotiopsis sp., an Israeli cultivar named ‘Yasmin’, and confirmed that resistance is heritable in breeding populations derived from ‘Yasmin’. We propose screening Yasmin-derived populations for resistance in inoculated field trials. Analysis of field resistance and genetic data via association mapping will approximate the locations of genes underlying resistance. Mining these locations for DNA diagnostic information in future work would enable breeders to effectively select for Neopestalotiopsis sp. resistance in their breeding populations. This research will support ongoing efforts to efficiently and more rapidly deliver cultivars with improved Neopestalotiopsis sp. resistance.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The overall aim of this project is to uncover genetic markers conferring resistance to Neopestalotiopsis sp. as targets for breeding resistant cultivars.

    Objective 1: Evaluate Yasmin-derived populations for Neopestalotiopsis sp. resistance in replicated, inoculated field trials.

    Objective 2: Identify genetic regions increasing resistance to Neopestalotiopsis sp. and characterize their phenotypic effects in Yasmin-derived populations.

    Objective 3: Select individuals with superior resistance and other breeding-relevant traits for further backcrossing into elite backgrounds.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.