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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Crop Production and Pest Control Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #219131

Title: Population Dynamics of the Wheat Pest, Hessian fly, in the Southeastern United States

item Schemerhorn, Brandi

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Regional Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2007
Publication Date: 12/1/2007
Citation: Morton, P.K., Schemerhorn, B.J. 2007. Population Dynamics of the Wheat Pest, Hessian fly, in the Southeastern United States. Entomological Society of America Regional Meeting Proceedings. p. 42. Avaliable:

Interpretive Summary: In an attempt to understand ancestral and current gene flow between Hessian fly populations, we have used microsatellites to assess the variation between an among populations in the southeastern United States. The impact of this research is to help wheat farmers and breeders to understand how virulence arises and spreads throughout the populations of Hessian fly across the United States in order to help them more effectively deploy wheat cultivars.

Technical Abstract: Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say), is a wheat crop pest in the United States creating millions of dollars of crop losses each year. The primary means of controlling this insect pest is through the use of resistant cultivars. Over the years, this practice has led to Hessian flies containing genes for virulence. Additionally, other characteristics about Mayetiola destructor biology are likely to reduce gene flow between populations, such as limited dispersal, short life span, and rapid mating and oviposition; however, virulence genes continue to emerge and spread. Knowledge of population dynamics is important for monitoring the effects of any insect targeted control strategy, including the spread of virulence to deployed resistance genes in wheat, yet interactions on the population level for this insect remains poorly understood. In order to better understand Hessian fly on the population level, microsatellite markers were used to identify the population structure of 10 Hessian fly collections from the Southeastern United States. Levels of variation within and between populations are examined and the possible implications for the Hessian fly populations in this region are explored.