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Rapid gall midge adaptation to a resistant willow genotype

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1 We conducted two experiments to investigate why a basket willow Salix viminalis L. genotype, known to be highly resistant to the leaf-roller gall midge Dasineura marginemtorquens (Bremi), should support very high gall densities in a field plantation at Tälle, south Sweden.

2 The first experiment was a field test of the hypothesis of fine-scale host adaptation in the gall midge/willow system. Support for the hypothesis would be established if midges originating from resistant willows and those originating from nearby susceptible willows differed in their abilities to initiate galls and complete development on resistant plants.

3 The objective of the second experiment was to explore whether there was a genetic basis to the trait for virulence in the midge population and to investigate any potential trade-offs this trait may entail.

4 Our results indicate that there was a fine-scaled microgeographic genetic structure to the midge population at Tälle. Midges originating from resistant plants had a heritable trait that enabled them to establish galls on resistant plants.

5 Midges able to initiate galls on the resistant genotype had longer developmental time on the susceptible genotype. This suggests that there is a physiological cost associated with being adapted to the resistant willow genotype.

6 We suggest that driving forces behind the observed host adaptation are selection imposed on the midge population by very strong willow resistance and restricted gene flow in the midge populations due to the special life history features of D. marginemtorquens.

Keywords: Cecidomyidae; Dasineura marginemtorquens; Salix viminalis; gall initiation; local adaptation; plant resistance; trade-offs; virulence

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7044, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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