Background\ud \ud Venturia inaequalis is an economically-important disease of apple causing annual epidemics of scab worldwide. The pathogen is a heterothallic ascomycete with an annual cycle of sexual reproduction on infected apple leaf litter, followed by several cycles of asexual reproduction during the apple growing season. Current disease prevention is achieved mainly through scheduled applications of fungicides. Genetic linkage maps are essential for studying genome structure and organisation, and are a valuable tool for identifying the location of genes controlling important traits of interest such as avirulence, host specificity and mating type in V. inaequalis. In this study, we performed a wide cross under in vitro conditions between an isolate of V. inaequalis from China and one from the UK to obtain a genetically diverse mapping population of ascospore progeny isolates and produced a map using AFLP and microsatellite (SSR) markers.\ud Findings\ud \ud Eighty-three progeny were obtained from the cross between isolates C1054 (China) x 01/213 (UK). The progeny was screened with 18 AFLP primer combinations and 31 SSRs, and scored for the mating type locus MAT. A linkage map was constructed consisting of 294 markers (283 AFLPs, ten SSRs and the MAT locus), spanning eleven linkage groups and with a total map length of 1106 cM. The length of individual linkage groups ranged from 30.4 cM (Vi-11) to 166 cM (Vi-1). The number of molecular markers per linkage group ranged from 7 on Vi-11 to 48 on Vi-3; the average distance between two loci within each group varied from 2.4 cM (Vi-4) to 7.5 cM (Vi-9). The maximum map length between two markers within a linkage group was 15.8 cM. The MAT locus was mapped to a small linkage group and was tightly linked to two AFLP markers. The map presented is over four times longer than the previously published map of V. inaequalis which had a total genetic distance of just 270 cM.\ud Conclusions\ud \ud A genetic linkage map is an important tool for investigating the genetics of important traits in V. inaequalis such as virulence factors, aggressiveness and mating type. The linkage map presented here represents a significant improvement over currently published maps for studying genome structure and organisation, and for mapping genes of economic importance on the V. inaequalis genome
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