Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: BIOLOGY AND HOST-PLANT RELATIONSHIPS OF THE HESSIAN FLY: PAST AND CURRENT RESEARCH

Authors
item Harris, M - HFRI, NEW ZEALAND
item Williams, Christie
item Ratcliffe, Roger
item Foster, S - HFRI, NEW ZEALAND
item Griffin, W - HFRI, NEW ZEALAND
item Kanno, H - HFRI, NEW ZEALAND
item Morris, B - HFRI, NEW ZEALAND
item Ohm, H - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Pickering, R - NZ, ICFRL
item Shukle, Richard

Submitted to: International Rice Research Notes
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 27, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The main purpose of this review is to bring together current information on the use of plant resistance to control Hessian fly injury in wheat, progress in breeding resistant wheats, and how the genetic interactions of the Hessian fly and wheat affects the durability of resistance. Hessian fly biology and life history, the nature of damage to wheat, and control methods are briefly described. During the last 50 years, resistant wheat varieties have provided the most reliable and economical control of the Hessian fly. Numerous sources of resistance have been identified from common and durum wheat, wild wheat relatives, and rye. These sources have been utilized in university and commercial wheat breeding programs to incorporate resistance into both spring and winter wheat varieties. To date, 27 resistance genes have been identified that will control one or more races (biotypes) of the Hessian fly. The changes that have occurred in the genetic composition of biotypes of the Hessian fly in response to exposure to resistant wheat varieties are discussed, as well as strategies that are being developed to improve the durability of resistance in future varieties. A number of current Hessian fly/wheat research projects are discussed briefly and a contact email address is provided for one of the primary investigators. Information will benefit entomologists and plant breeders by promoting communication among researchers studying Hessian fly and other gall midge pests of cereal crops for which resistant varieties are an important management tool.

Technical Abstract: In the United States, common wheat, Triticum aestivum L., bred for resistance to the Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say), is known as one of the great success stories in plant breeding for resistance to insect pests. After being introduced from Europe into the United States in the late 18th century, the Hessian fly became a serious pest of wheat. This prompted a search for wheats resistant to Hessian fly attack, a search which eventually led to the breeding of improved resistant cultivars. Since the 1950's, Hessian fly-resistant wheat cultivars have been available for the central-midwestern regions of the U. S., with 60 cultivars released from 1950 to 1983. Resistance in these sources is dominant or partially dominant and conditioned by single, duplicate, or multiple genetic factors derived from common and durum wheat, the wild wheat, Triticum tauschii (Coss) Schmal., and rye. The deployment of these resistant cultivars has resulted in significant reductions in crop losses to Hessian fly. Unfortunately their deployment also has led to the evolution of Hessian fly populations that are unaffected by particular resistance traits. The evolution of these adapted or virulent biotypes has necessitated ongoing wheat breeding programs for Hessian fly resistance; breeding programs that anticipate the need for wheat cultivars with new resistance traits. This paper briefly reviews key aspects of the biology and host-plant relationships of the Hessian fly and presents a number of current Hessian fly/wheat research projects that are contributing to improved breeding approaches that will enhance durability of resistance in the future.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page