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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Byrne, Patrick
item Mcmullen, Michael
item Wiseman, Billy
item Snook, Maurice
item Musket, Theresa
item Theuri, James
item Coe Jr, Edward

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The corn earworm is a major insect pest in corn, cotton, peanuts, and many other crops in the Southeast U.S. Corn serves as the main nurse crop for the corn earworm, therefore, development of resistance corn varieties would lessen the impact of this pest for all crops in the agricultural system. Quantitative trait locus analysis was used to identify chromosome regions responsible for synthesis of maysin, a chemical in silks that confers resistance to the corn earworm and to identify the chromosome regions directly affecting corn earworm larval growth in feeding trials. The correspondence of regions for maysin and larval growth inhibition supports the primary role of maysin for resistance. Two of the regions identified contain genes in the biochemical pathway for maysin synthesis providing candidate genes for understanding the basis of the resistance. The results of this study support the approach of breeding for high maysin levels to enhance resistance in corn to the corn earworm.

Technical Abstract: Growth of the corn earworm (CEW), Helicoverpa zea Boddie, a major pest of maize, Zea mays L., is inhibited by high concentrations of maysin, a C-glycosyl flavone, in maize silks. To advance understanding of the genetic control of silk maysin concentration and antibiosis to CEW, we conducted a quantitative trait locus (QTL) study in a population derived from a cross of a high-maysin (GE37) by a low-maysin (FF8) line. Both lines have phenotypically identical, positively regulating alleles at the p1 locus. We evaluated 250 (GE37 x FF8)F2:3 families for (i) restriction fragment length polymorphisms at 121 loci, (ii) silk maysin concentrations in two locations (in Georgia and Missouri), and (iii) weight of CEW larvae grown on artificial diet containing oven-dried silks. For maysin concentration in both locations, composite interval mapping revealed major QTLs in the asg20-whp1 interval of chromosome 2 and at the wx1 locus on chromosome 9. Loci with smaller effects on maysin level were detected on chromosomes 1, 6, and 8. For CEW larval weight, the largest QTL was detected in the asg20-whp1 interval of chromosome 2, and major effects were also associated with chromosomes 1 and 6. However, we found no effect on larval weight at wx1. Significant (P < 0.001) epistasis was observed for all traits. Our results suggest whp1 on chromosome 2, a gene that encodes for an enzyme early in the flavonoid pathway, and sm1, a silk-specific gene on chromosome 6, as candidate genes affecting maysin concentration and larval weight in this population.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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