A diverse collection of modern, heirloom and specialty cultivars, plant introduction (PI) accessions, and breeding lines of lettuce were screened for susceptibility to lettuce dieback, which is a disease caused by soilborne viruses of the family Tombusviridae. Susceptibility was evaluated by visual symptom assessment in fields that had been previously shown to be infested with Lettuce necrotic stunt virus. Of the 241 genotypes tested in multiple field experiments, 76 remained symptom-free in infested fields and were therefore classified as resistant to dieback. Overall, resistant genotypes were as prevalent among modern cultivars as in heirloom cultivars or primitive germplasm. Within modern germplasm, however, all crisphead (iceberg) cultivars were resistant, while all romaine cultivars were susceptible. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, tombusviruses were detected in leaves of some plants of resistant genotypes that were grown in infested fields, suggesting that symptom-free plants are not immune to viral infection. The inheritance of resistance was studied for 'Salinas', a modern iceberg cultivar, and PI 491224, the progenitor of recently released romaine germplasm with resistance to lettuce dieback. Resistance was conferred by a dominant allele at a single locus in both genotypes. The tombusvirus resistance locus from 'Salinas', Tvr1, was mapped in an intraspecific Lactuca sativa population to a location that corresponds to linkage group 2 on the consensus map of Lactuca. The largest cluster of resistance genes in lettuce, the Dm1/Dm3 cluster, is found on this linkage group; however, the precise position of Tvr1 relative to this cluster has not yet been determined. To our knowledge, Tvr1 is the first tombusvirus resistance gene identified for any plant host.