The most economically important disease of cultivated grapevines worldwide is powdery mildew (PM) caused by the ascomycete fungus Erysiphe necator. The majority of grapevine cultivars used for wine, table grape, and dried fruit production are derived from the Eurasian grape species Vitis vinifera because of its superior aroma and flavor characteristics. However, this species has little genetic resistance against E. necator meaning that grape production is highly dependent on the frequent use of fungicides. The integration of effective genetic resistance into cultivated grapevines would lead to significant financial and environmental benefits and represents a major challenge for viticultural industries and researchers worldwide. This review will outline the strategies being used to increase our understanding of the molecular basis of V. vinifera susceptibility to this fungal pathogen. It will summarize our current knowledge of different resistance loci/genes that have evolved in wild grapevine species to restrict PM infection and assess the potential application of these defense genes in the generation of PM-resistant grapevine germplasm. Finally, it addresses future research priorities which will be important in the rapid identification, evaluation, and deployment of new PM resistance genes which are capable of conferring effective and durable resistance in the vineyard.


Environmental Plant Science and Natural Resources

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© 2015 Nanjing Agricultural University

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Horticulture Research