Increasing Genetic Resistance
In spite of the progress in breeding for increased yield in peanut over the last two decades, peanut has low genetic diversity. Increasing this diversity for disease resistances that ultimately impact yield and economic return is possible by capturing novel alleles from exotic domesticated and wild relatives. Using genome sequence and trait data, the UGA Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics identified molecular markers for early and late leaf spot resistance, nematode resistance, white mold resistance, TSWV resistance and seed traits and successfully used to accelerate breeding and selection for these traits. Furthermore, a prebreeding effort has generated crosses with numerous wild relatives of peanut that harbor novel alleles for disease resistance. Application of molecular markers saves time during the selection process for prebreeding and breeding and reduces the cost to advance breeding lines by early elimination of those unlikely to possess a desired trait. More rapid deployment of improved cultivars with excellent production characteristics stacked with genetic disease resistance contributes to economic and environmental sustainability. Genetic resistance to pests and diseases will reduce chemical inputs needed for control, resulting in a healthier crop and reduction of costs to the grower.