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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Evaluation of Sunflower for Resistance to Seed-and Stem-Infesting Insect Pests in the Great Plains

Location: Sunflower Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Evaluate selected hybrids, accessions, interspecific crosses, and lines in screening nurseries for resistance to the banded sunflower moth in North Dakota, red sunflower seed weevil in South Dakota, and stem weevil and sunflower head moth in Kansas.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Plots for banded sunflower moth will be located in Prosper, ND, plots for red sunflower seed weevil with be located in Highmore, SD, plots for stem weevil and sunflower moth will be located in Colby KS. Each location will contain lines, hybrids, and accessions of interest for the particular insect. Each entry will be replicated 2-4 times in a randomized complete block design. At key points in the growing season, plant tissues may be sampled for the purpose of quantifying physiological compounds that may be involved with resistance. DNA may also be sampled, as needed, for analysis. At the end of the season, seed will be sampled from the plots to assess damage from the seed infesting insects. For stem weevil, damage to stalks will be assessed, and larval counts recorded.


3.Progress Report

Sunflower is a crop that is adapted to a wide area of the United States from Texas to North Dakota. This adaptation is due in part to the fact that the plant is native to this same area. Because it is native, it also has a number of native insect pests that parasitize it. The purpose of this work is to find host plant resistance genes to four insect pests that parasitize sunflower in the Northern and Central Plains regions of the United States. With this being a new project, the only thing that has been accomplished so far is to plant in infested locations genetic lines that are susceptible or resistant to the sunflower head moth, banded sunflower moth, red sunflower seed weevil, and the stem weevil. In the coming months, we will harvest seed and stalks to quantify infestation in the field plots, as well as harvest plant tissues for further analysis in the laboratory. Laboratory analyses will concentrate on plant derived chemicals that may be facilitating these resistances. This information will allow us to develop improved germplasm lines with high yield and quality with insect resistance. It will also allow us to develop tools, such as genetic and biochemical markers, for commercial seed companies to track the released resistance genes in their own breeding lines. These lines will become part of commercial hybrids in the future, which will benefit farmers/producers.


Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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