Main content area

Conventional Screening Overlooks Resistance Sources: Rootworm Damage of Diverse Inbred Lines and Their B73 Hybrids is Unrelated

Flint-Garcia, Sherry A., Dashiell, Kenton E., Prischmann, Deirdre A., Bohn, Martin O., Hibbard, Bruce E.
Journal of economic entomology 2009 v.102 no.3 pp. 1317
Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, rootworms, Zea mays, corn, pest resistance, plant genetic resources, germplasm screening, inbred lines, topcrossing, hybrids, heterosis, crop damage, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois
The western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (LeConte), is a major pest of maize, Zea mays L., in the United States and Europe, and it is likely to increase in importance as a trend toward increased nonrotated maize favors larger rootworm populations. Options for rootworm management in nonrotated maize in Europe and in nontransgenic “refuge” areas in countries that permit transgenic maize are limited to insecticides. Development of additional options for growers would be helpful. Screening maize germplasm (e.g., landraces, populations, inbreds) for native resistance to western corn rootworm is labor-intensive and is usually conducted on unfinished germplasm and not on hybrid materials. However, we have recently observed that topcrossed (hybrid) materials tend to have reduced western corn rootworm damage. To formally test whether rootworm damage to inbreds and associated hybrids were correlated, we evaluated 25 diverse inbred lines and their B73 hybrids for western corn rootworm damage in seven environments. Overall, hybrids had significantly less damage than inbreds, but unfortunately, the correlation between inbreds and hybrids was not significant. These findings have important implications regarding screening germplasm for western corn rootworm resistance, namely, that inbred materials and perhaps populations should be topcrossed to form hybrid materials before screening for western corn rootworm damage to ensure that valuable sources of resistance to western corn rootworm are not missed during the screening process.