Natural variation of plant pathogen resistance is often quantitative. This type of resistance can be genetically dissected in quantitative resistance loci (QRL). To unravel the molecular basis of QRL in potato (Solanum tuberosum), we employed the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana for functional analysis of natural variants of potato allene oxide synthase 2 (StAOS2). StAOS2 is a candidate gene for QRL on potato chromosome XI against the oömycete Phytophthora infestans causing late blight, and the bacterium Erwinia carotovora ssp. atroseptica causing stem black leg and tuber soft rot, both devastating diseases in potato cultivation. StAOS2 encodes a cytochrome P450 enzyme that is essential for biosynthesis of the defense signaling molecule jasmonic acid. Allele non-specific dsRNAi-mediated silencing of StAOS2 in potato drastically reduced jasmonic acid production and compromised quantitative late blight resistance. Five natural StAOS2 alleles were expressed in the null Arabidopsis aos mutant under control of the Arabidopsis AOS promoter and tested for differential complementation phenotypes. The aos mutant phenotypes evaluated were lack of jasmonates, male sterility and susceptibility to Erwinia carotovora ssp. carotovora. StAOS2 alleles that were associated with increased disease resistance in potato complemented all aos mutant phenotypes better than StAOS2 alleles associated with increased susceptibility. First structure models of 'quantitative resistant' versus 'quantitative susceptible' StAOS2 alleles suggested potential mechanisms for their differential activity. Our results demonstrate how a candidate gene approach in combination with using the homologous Arabidopsis mutant as functional reporter can help to dissect the molecular basis of complex traits in non model crop plants. © 2008 The Author(s).