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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Disease and Pest Management Research Unit » Research » Research Project #437013

Research Project: Development of Hazelnuts for Resistance to Eastern Filbert Blight

Location: Horticultural Crops Disease and Pest Management Research Unit

Project Number: 2072-22000-045-004-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 30, 2019
End Date: Sep 29, 2024

Develop improved germplasm and cultivars of hazelnut with resistance to eastern filbert blight and suitability for the kernel market.

The general approach relies upon plant breeding complemented by marker-assisted selection. Two strategies are proposed, one utilizing a known dominant gene (from 'Gasaway') for resistance to eastern filbert blight (EFB), with the second strategy seeking and exploiting other sources of EFB resistance. For the first strategy, seedlings from crosses will be screened initially for the presence of the 'Gasaway' gene using DNA markers that flank the resistance gene. Seedlings with the DNA markers will be planted in the field, and their nuts will be evaluated as trees begin to bear. Selections with desirable nut and kernel traits will then be evaluated for EFB resistance in the greenhouse and in the field. In the second strategy, germplasm lacking the 'Gasaway' resistance gene will be evaluated for susceptibility to EFB. Germplasm exhibiting resistance will be incorporated into the breeding program as it is discovered. DNA markers for each new resistance gene will be identified for use in marker-assisted selection. The linkage map for hazelnut will be continually enhanced by adding new simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci. Dominant EFB resistance genes will be assigned to linkage groups based on linkage with mapped SSR loci. A draft genome of the Oregon isolate of the fungal pathogen will be obtained using two next-generation DNA sequencing approaches (Illumina and Roche 454). SSR and other types of markers will be developed from the draft sequence and used to distinguish fungal isolates.