Summary: TISSUE CULTURE AND QUANTIFICATION OF INDIVIDUAL-LEVEL RESISTANCE
TO ANTHER-SMUT DISEASE IN SILENE VULGARIS
Lorraine Cafuir, Janis Antonovics,1
and Michael E. Hood
Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, U.S.A.
Resistance to systemic diseases is often difficult to measure quantitatively because individuals can be scored
only as either diseased or healthy. A technique is described for cloning individuals of Silene vulgaris plants
using the tissue culture of seedling meristems. Inoculation of such clonally replicated genotypes within two
families shows that segregation of resistance to anther-smut disease caused by the systemic plant pathogen
Microbotryum violaceum is highly bimodal. This suggests that resistance to this disease in S. vulgaris may have a
relatively simple genetic basis.
Keywords: callus, flowering time, gynodioecy, male sterility.
Anther-smut disease, caused by the fungal pathogen Micro-
botryum violaceum, has become a widely used model for
studying disease in natural populations (Alexander et al. 1996;
Antonovics et al. 2002; Hood et al. 2003). Microbotryum
violaceum is a species complex that infects many members of
the Caryophyllaceae (Thrall et al. 1993; LeGac et al. 2007).
The pathogen is systemic and sterilizing, and the pollen in dis-