Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Crop Science

First Advisor

Dr. Hongyan Zhu

Second Advisor

Dr. Todd W. Pfeiffer


Anthracnose, caused by the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum trifolii, is one of the most destructive diseases of alfalfa worldwide. Cloning and characterization of the host resistance (R) genes against the pathogen will improve our knowledge of molecular mechanisms underlying host resistance and facilitate the development of resistant alfalfa cultivars. However, the intractable genetic system of cultivated alfalfa, owing to its tetrasomic inheritance and outcrossing nature, limits the ability to carry out genetic analysis in alfalfa. Nonetheless, the model legume Medicago truncatula, a close relative of alfalfa, provides a surrogate for cloning the counterparts of many agronomically important genes in alfalfa. In this study, we used genetic map-based approach to clone RCT1, a host resistance gene against C. trifolii race 1, in M. truncatula. The RCT1 locus was delimited within a physical interval spanning ~200 kilo-bases located on the top of M. truncatula linkage group 4. Complementation tests of three candidate genes on the susceptible alfalfa clones revealed that RCT1 is a member of the Toll-interleukin-1 receptor/nucleotide-binding site/leucine-rich repeat (TIR-NBS-LRR) class of plant R genes and confers broad spectrum anthracnose resistance. Thus, RCT1 offers a novel resource to develop anthracnose-resistant alfalfa cultivars. Furthermore, the cloning of RCT1 also makes a significant contribution to our understanding of host resistance against the fungal genus Colletotrichum.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.