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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #361383

Research Project: Development of Production and Formulation Technologies for Microbial Biopesticides in Conjunction with the Development of Attractants and Repellents for Invasive Insect Pests

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Title: Insect damage influences expression of heat and drought stress resistance genes in maize

item Dowd, Patrick
item Johnson, Eric

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2019
Publication Date: 9/26/2019
Citation: Dowd, P.F., Johnson, E.T. 2019. Insect damage influences expression of heat and drought stress resistance genes in maize. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Excessive heat and drought limit the sustainable production of maize and other crops. Ear molds that produce toxins harmful to humans and animals often occur at high levels in heat and drought stress years as well. Developing heat and drought resistant varieties is one strategy that can be used to cope with heat and drought stress brought on by climate change, but relevant genes and factors that influence their expression are little known, as a variety of different biotic and abiotic factors may be involved. Environmental conditions in the midwestern maize growing areas in central Illinois, USA allowed for gene expression comparisons in fields of popcorn, which has a small root system and is susceptible to heat and drought stress, despite applied irrigation. Milk stage ears were collected from two locations in 2010 (normal growing conditions), 2011 and 2012 (both heat and drought stress years); and subjected to gene expression microarray analysis. A different complex of heat stress resistance genes had higher levels of expression in stress years depending on whether the ears were damaged by insects or not. The reduction in expression levels of several water stress resistance genes was more severe in insect damaged ears compared to undamaged ears in stress years. Transgenic overexpression of certain regulatory genes has been reported to enhance yields of some crops. Thus, identification of the regulatory genes positively or negatively affecting the expression of different heat and drought stress resistance genes as influenced by insect damage or other factors should allow for breeding or transgenic introduction of appropriate regulatory genes to promote desirable levels of heat and drought stress resistance factors during heat or drought stress, thereby helping to maintain yield and quality.