A thorough understanding of quantitative disease resistance (QDR) would contribute to the design and deployment of durably resistant crop cultivars. However, the molecular mechanisms that control QDR remain poorly understood, largely due to the incomplete and inconsistent nature of the resistance phenotype, which is usually conditioned by many loci of small effect. Here, we discuss recent advances in research on QDR. Based on inferences from analyses of the defense response and from the few isolated QDR genes, we suggest several plausible hypotheses for a range of mechanisms underlying QDR. We propose that a new generation of genetic resources, complemented by careful phenotypic analysis, will produce a deeper understanding of plant defense and more effective utilization of natural resistance alleles.
Trends in Plant Science (2009) 14 (1) 21-29 [doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.10.006]