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A Test of Taxonomic Predictivity


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 46 No. 6, p. 2561-2570
    Received: Dec 8, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): shjansky@wisc.edu
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  1. Shelley H. Jansky *a,
  2. Reinhard Simonb and
  3. David M. Spoonera
  1. a USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Dep. of Horticulture, Univ. of Wisconsin, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1590 USA
    b International Potato Center, P.O. Box 1558, La Molina, Lima 12, Peru


A major justification for taxonomic research is its assumed ability to predict the presence of traits in a group for which the trait has been observed in a representative subset of the group. Taxonomy is regularly used by breeders interested in choosing potential sources of disease-resistant germplasm for cultivar improvement. We designed this study as an empirical test of prediction by associating resistance to white mold [caused by the fungal pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary] to diverse potato (Solanum spp.) taxonomies and biogeography, using 144 accessions of 34 wild relatives of potato in Solanum sections Petota and Etuberosum Tremendous variation for resistance to white mold occurs both within and among species. No consistent association was observed between white mold resistance and taxonomic series (based on a phenetic concept), clades (based on a cladistic concept), ploidy, breeding system, geographic distance, or climate parameters. Species and individual accessions with high proportions of white-mold-resistant plants have been identified in this study, but both often exhibit extensive variation and designation of either as resistant or susceptible must take this variation into account. Therefore, taxonomic relationships and ecogeographic data cannot be reliably used to predict where additional sources of white mold resistance genes will be found.

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Copyright © 2006. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America