Identification of Genomic Regions Associated with Fusarium Wilt Resistance in Cowpea

Author(s): Quentin Hayes

Fusarium wilt (FW), caused by the soil-borne fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Tracheiphilum, is a serious threat to cowpea production worldwide. Understanding the genetic architecture of FW resistance is a prerequisite to combatting this disease and developing FW resistance varieties. In the current study, a genetic diversity panel of 99 cowpea accessions was collected, and they were infected by a single strain, FW-HZ. The disease index (DI) based on the two indicators of leaf damage (LFD) and vascular discoloration (VD) varied highly across the population: most accessions were susceptible, and only seven accessions showed resistant phenotypes by both indicators.Through a genome-wide association study (GWAS), 3 and 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with LFD and VD were detected, respectively, which were distributed on chromosomes 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9, accounting for 0.68–13.92% of phenotypic variation. Based on the cowpea reference genome, 30 putative genes were identified and proposed as the likely candidates, including leucine-rich repeat protein kinase family protein, protein kinase superfamily protein and zinc finger family protein. These results provide novel insights into the genetic architecture of FW resistance and a basis for molecular breeding of FW resistant cultivars in cowpea.