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Does R Gene Resistance Allow Wheat to Prevent Plant Growth Effects Associated with Hessian Fly (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) Attack?

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Resistance genes (R genes) are an important part of the plant’s immune system. Among insects, the Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), larva is the target of the greatest number of characterized R genes (H1H32). The biochemical/molecular mechanism of R gene resistance to Hessian fly is not well understood. In the absence of an effective R gene, larvae caused extensive growth deficits (>30 cm) in wheat seedlings. In the presence of one of three effective R genes, H6, H9, or H13, larvae caused small growth deficits (≈3–4 cm) in two leaves (third and fourth) that were actively growing during the first days of larval attack. After larvae died on R gene plants, the fifth leaf and tiller leaves exhibited small increases in growth (2–4 cm). Growth responses of susceptible and resistant plants diverged at a time when Hessian fly larvae were establishing a nutritive gall tissue at feeding sites. The results of this study support the hypothesis that R gene resistance cannot prevent initial larval attack, but, by stopping the formation of the larval gall, it prevents the most serious consequences of larval attack.

Keywords: Mayetiola destructor; compensatory growth; gall; growth inhibition; systemic effects

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-99.5.1842

Publication date: October 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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