Submitted to: Barley Improvement Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 11, 2005
Publication Date: January 11, 2005
Citation: Porter, D.R., Mornhinweg, D.W., Puterka, G.J. 2005. Barley insect research at the USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Laboratory. In: Proceedings of Barley Improvement Conference, January 11-12, 2005, Charleston, South Carolina. p. 44-47. Available: http://www.ambainc.org/pub/. Technical Abstract: Insect pests pose a major constraint to the profitable production of barley in the USA. The use of genetically resistant barley cultivars in conjunction with prudent integrated pest management tactics is an economical, environmentally friendly approach to controlling pest damage. Research is ongoing at the USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Laboratory, Stillwater, OK to: identify new sources of genetic resistance to insect pests (Russian wheat aphid, greenbug, and bird cherry-oat aphid) in barley; determine the genetic diversity and genetic control of this resistance; and, develop improved barley germplasm and cultivars with genetic resistance to insect pests. Recently, new biotypes of the Russian wheat aphid (RWA) were detected throughout the Great Plains. At least three new biotypes have been detected in samples taken from Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas. A biotype, as defined here, is a new form of RWA that can damage crop plants that were bred to be resistant to the original pest population. The occurrence of new biotypes poses a particularly serious challenge to plant breeders who have spent a lot of time and other resources developing genetically resistant plants. While these new RWA biotypes were collected from fields of wheat and barley, early tests indicate that they are only able to differentially damage sources of resistance in wheat. This is a major setback for wheat breeders, especially in Colorado where the RWA is a major perennial threat to wheat production. Fortunately, all of the resistant barleys developed at the ARS Plant Science Research Laboratory appear to retain their resistance when tested against these new RWA biotypes.