• avirulence;
  • blackleg disease;
  • canola;
  • oilseed rape;
  • phoma stem canker

Blackleg disease (phoma stem canker) of Brassica napus (canola, oilseed rape) is caused by the fungus Leptosphaeria maculans. In some regions of Australia, resistance in oilseed rape cultivars derived from B. rapa subs. sylvestris (e.g. cv. Surpass 400) became ineffective within three years of commercial release. The genetic control of avirulence in L. maculans towards cv. Surpass 400 is described. When Australian field isolates were screened on this cultivar, three phenotypic classes were observed; virulent, intermediate and avirulent. Analysis of crosses between fungal isolates varying in their ability to infect cv. Surpass 400 demonstrated the presence of two unlinked avirulence genes, AvrLm1 and AvrLmS. Complementation of isolates (genotype avrLm1) with a functional copy of AvrLm1, and genotyping of field isolates using a molecular marker for AvrLm1 showed that virulence towards Rlm1 is necessary, but not sufficient, for expression of a virulent phenotype on cv. Surpass 400. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that cv. Surpass 400, with ‘sylvestris-derived’ resistance, contains at least two resistance genes, one of which is Rlm1.