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The relationship between morphological traits of the spring wheat spike and oviposition deterrence to orange wheat blossom midge

Gharalari, A.H., Smith, M.A.H., Fox, S.L., Lamb, R.J.
Entomologia experimentalis et applicata 2009 v.132 no.2 pp. 182-190
Sitodiplosis mosellana, Triticum aestivum, antixenosis, breeding programs, chemistry, eggs, insect pests, insect resistance, oviposition, phenotype, plant breeders, plant breeding, spikelets, spring wheat
If morphological traits of a plant cause resistance to an insect pest or are strongly correlated with resistance levels, those traits can be used by plant breeders as phenotypic markers for indirect selection of resistance. To improve our understanding of antixenosis against the orange wheat blossom midge, Sitodiplosis mosellana (Géhin) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), expressed as oviposition deterrence in bread wheat, Triticum aestivum L. (Poaceae), 21 morphological traits of the wheat spike were studied in a genetically related wheat population and correlation of the traits with deterrence level was explored. The following traits had larger values in the deterrent parent of the population than the susceptible parent: ligule length, glume length, length of hair inside glume, palea length at post-anthesis stage, length of hair inside lemma, length of hair at spikelet base, inter-spikelet distance, and length of hair at rachis edge at post-anthesis stage. The highest correlation coefficient between mean egg density and a morphological trait of the wheat population was -0.287, which was for inter-spikelet distance. This represented 8% predictability from the point of view of crop breeding and explained one-twelfth of the variation in oviposition deterrence among lines. The morphological traits of bread wheat spikes were not highly correlated to deterrence. Therefore, no promising trait could be recommended for use in breeding programs. Studies of the fine-scale properties of the wheat plant surface, and their interactions with plant surface chemistry, with a greater focus on wheat midge oviposition behavior, may clarify the effect of the morphological traits on oviposition and deterrence.