Development of a promising interspecific hybrid in black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) for Phytophthora foot rot resistance

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For the first time in the history of black pepper cultivation, a partly fertile interspecific hybrid having partial resistance to the dreaded disease Phytophthora foot rot was developed through hybridizing Piper nigrum with the wild species Piper colubrinnum. Hybridity of interspecific progenies was established through morphology, anatomy, cytology, and molecular studies. The hybrid, whose chromosome number is 2n = 39, is a triploid hybrid between a tetraploid and diploid species. The hybrid designated as Culture P5PC-1 exhibited distinct anatomical and morphological feature with a large number of long spikes with reduced setting percentage. The RAPD primers OPE 07 and OPG 08 were identified as hybrid specific molecular markers. Functional evaluation revealed partial introgression of genes—responsible for Phytophthora foot rot resistance—into the hybrid. This hybrid is considered as a successful breakthrough for introgression of resistance to the cultivated species Piper nigrum from the wild species Piper colubrinnum.

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