Location: Plant Genetics Research
2011 Annual Report
This work is related to Objective 1 of the parent project: "Develop lines of the western corn rootworm resistant to transgenic corn and investigate the biology, pest/host interactions, and fitness costs of resistant and control colonies as they relate to resistance management and rootworm biology."
More hectares of cropland have traditionally received insecticide for Diabrotica (western corn rootworm) than for any other agricultural pest in the United States. Because of recent changes in their distribution (now in Europe), biology (resistance to crop rotation), and cropping practices (more continuous corn), the impact of these pests is growing. Colonies of the western corn rootworm with resistance to transgenic corn expressing insecticidal proteins (Bt) have been developed, but the mechanism of resistance is unknown. A University of Missouri graduate research assistant (GRA) is actively evaluating the possibility that feeding behavior may play a role in this resistance. Recently, she documented that the time to first feeding on transgenic corn lines targeting the western corn rootworm was significantly shorter for resistant insects than the time to first feeding on Bt corn in the paired western corn rootworm control strain. This was the case for all three resistant colonies and transgenic corn lines tested at this point. Monitoring activities include nearly daily personal conversations with the GRA and personal meetings with the co-PI (co-advisor of the student) as needed.