Increasing genetic resistance to pests and diseases in peanut


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.


Georgia ranks first in peanut production in the US. Peanut production requires costly inputs such as pesticides to control diseases and pests, and irrigation to maximize yield and reduce aflatoxin contamination. Total losses due to pests and diseases in Georgia are estimated to exceed 150 million USD (reduction in value, cost of control and damage). Peanut producers need a more cost-effective production system, which can be achieved in part by improving the genetics of the crop for host-plant resistance. In addition, resistance traits need to be combined with quality seed traits that make the product more marketable.


Using genome sequence and trait data, molecular markers have been identified 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.

State Issue

Plant Production


  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: International
  • County: Tift
  • Location: Coastal Plain Station, Tifton
  • Unit, Department, or Group: Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics (IPBGG)
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources


    Ozias-Akins, Peggy


CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Bertioli, David
  • Bertioli, Soraya
  • Brenneman, Timothy Branner
  • Chu, Ye
  • Clevenger, Josh
  • Culbreath, Albert K.

Non-CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Corley Holbrook
  • Daniel Fonceka
  • Patricia Timper
  • Tom Stalker
Back To
Research Impact