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Conventional Screening Overlooks Resistance Sources: Rootworm Damage of Diverse Inbred Lines and Their B73 Hybrids Is Unrelated

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The western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (LeConte), is a major pest of maize, Zea mays L., in the United States and Europe, and it is likely to increase in importance as a trend toward increased nonrotated maize favors larger rootworm populations. Options for rootworm management in nonrotated maize in Europe and in nontransgenic “refuge” areas in countries that permit transgenic maize are limited to insecticides. Development of additional options for growers would be helpful. Screening maize germplasm (e.g., landraces, populations, inbreds) for native resistance to western corn rootworm is labor-intensive and is usually conducted on unfinished germplasm and not on hybrid materials. However, we have recently observed that topcrossed (hybrid) materials tend to have reduced western corn rootworm damage. To formally test whether rootworm damage to inbreds and associated hybrids were correlated, we evaluated 25 diverse inbred lines and their B73 hybrids for western corn rootworm damage in seven environments. Overall, hybrids had significantly less damage than inbreds, but unfortunately, the correlation between inbreds and hybrids was not significant. These findings have important implications regarding screening germplasm for western corn rootworm resistance, namely, that inbred materials and perhaps populations should be topcrossed to form hybrid materials before screening for western corn rootworm damage to ensure that valuable sources of resistance to western corn rootworm are not missed during the screening process.

Keywords: Diabrotica virgifera virgifera; heterosis; native plant resistance; western corn rootworm

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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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