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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Chemistry Research » Research » Research Project #435941

Research Project: Identifying Biomarkers for Breeding Sweet Corn with Increased Resistance to Silk Flies

Location: Chemistry Research

Project Number: 6036-11210-001-004-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 21, 2018
End Date: Oct 31, 2021

This research is to identify candidate genes/markers or corn derived compounds that have the potential to increase the resistance of sweet corn to various species of silk fly. These insect pests that are a major problem for growers of fresh market sweet corn in Florida due to both the damage they do to sweet corn ears and to their high levels of resistance to commercial pesticides.

ARS investigators will grow maize mapping populations at co-operators field sites in southern Florida that have heavy natural silk fly infestations. Mapping lines will be visually scored for silk fly resistance traits using numerical based scoring criteria. These data will be used to map for genes/markers associated with increase silk fly resistance using genome wide association mapping. Concurrently sweet corn inbred lines identified by co-operator as having enhanced silk fly resistance will be analyzed for defense metabolites including maysin, benzoxazinoids and phytoalexins that are known to have anti-insect properties. These analyses will allow researchers to test the hypothesis that elevated levels of these defense metabolites are responsible for enhanced silk fly resistance in sweet corn and determine whether analyzing them could be used as a tool to assist breeding efforts.