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Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal Institut Agro Rennes-Angers Angers University   IRHS


Durability of multigenic plant resistance - Modelling of pathogen adaptation

Sustainable use of total multigenic resistance requires an understanding of how its introduction into a plant population affects the adaptation speed of the pathogen.

To do this, we built a stochastic model to estimate the time of emergence of a pathogen mutant adapted to a multigenic resistance carried by a host population. Multigenic plant resistance is defined as a combination of major resistance genes that confer total immunity to disease. Total resistance can also be conferred to host individuals that only have a subset of these major genes (referred to as hosts with incomplete combinations).

Our results reveal the importance of the stochastic migration process to the adaptive dynamics of the pathogen. Firstly, we identify the growth and migration rates that allow pathogens to rapidly adapt to a multiresistance, even if only a small proportion of resistant hosts is introduced (figure). Secondly, the model highlights the negative impact of hosts that carry "incomplete" combinations on the durability of multiresistances. In fact, associating hosts that carry the multiresistance with susceptible hosts that carry one or several independently bypassed resistance genes can be more durable than associating them with hosts that carry "incomplete" combinations that include only a subset of the major genes. Third-ly, in contrast to the accepted view, our model suggests that multiresistance durability should not systematically be identified with mutation cost. Our theoretical study therefore allows us to gain insights into the principles of durable management of multigenic plant resistance for the purpose of hindering the adaptation of harmful populations.

multiresistance management strategies

A simplified decision diagram to assist with the development of multiresistance management strategies in order to achieve durable pathogen control. The decision diagram sums up the appearance time obtained with a variation of three model parameters: growth rate, r; migration rate, D; and the proportion of hosts carrying multigenic resistance, ξ. For any pair of pathogen parameters (r, D), the diagram illustrates the proportions of multiresistant hosts that could inhibit pathogen adaptation (in green).

Contact :

Natalia Sapoukhina,  IRHS unit

Référence :

  • Bourget R., Chaumont L., Sapoukhina N. (2013). Timing of pathogen adaptation to a multicomponent Treatment. PLoS ONE, 8(8): e71926.