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Pyramids of QTLs enhance host–plant resistance and Bt-mediated resistance to leaf-chewing insects in soybean

Ortega, María A., All, John N., Boerma, H. Roger, Parrott, Wayne A.
Theoretical and applied genetics 2016 v.129 no.4 pp. 703-715
Anticarsia gemmatalis, Bacillus thuringiensis, Glycine max, Helicoverpa zea, Pseudoplusia includens, Spodoptera eridania, Spodoptera frugiperda, antibiosis, cultivars, defoliation, genes, insects, linkage groups, loci, pest resistance, pests, quantitative trait loci, soybeans, transgenic plants
KEY MESSAGE : QTL-M and QTL-E enhance soybean resistance to insects. Pyramiding these QTLs with cry1Ac increases protection against Bt-tolerant pests, presenting an opportunity to effectively deploy Bt with host–plant resistance genes. Plant resistance to leaf-chewing insects minimizes the need for insecticide applications, reducing crop production costs and pesticide concerns. In soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], resistance to a broad range of leaf-chewing insects is found in PI 229358 and PI 227687. PI 229358’s resistance is conferred by three quantitative trait loci (QTLs): M, G, and H. PI 227687’s resistance is conferred by QTL-E. The letters indicate the soybean Linkage groups (LGs) on which the QTLs are located. This study aimed to determine if pyramiding PI 229358 and PI 227687 QTLs would enhance soybean resistance to leaf-chewing insects, and if pyramiding these QTLs with Bt (cry1Ac) enhances resistance against Bt-tolerant pests. The near-isogenic lines (NILs): Benningᴹᴱ, Benningᴹᴳᴴᴱ, and Benningᴹᴱ⁺ᶜʳʸ¹ᴬᶜ were developed. Benningᴹᴱ and Benningᴹᴳᴴᴱ were evaluated in detached-leaf and greenhouse assays with soybean looper [SBL, Chrysodeixis includens (Walker)], corn earworm [CEW, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie)], fall armyworm [FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith)], and velvetbean caterpillar [VBC, Anticarsia gemmatalis (Hübner)]; and in field-cage assays with SBL. Benningᴹᴱ⁺ᶜʳʸ¹ᴬᶜ was tested in detached-leaf assays against SBL, VBC, and Southern armyworm [SAW, Spodoptera eridania (Cramer)]. In the detached-leaf assay, Benningᴹᴱ showed the strongest antibiosis against CEW, FAW, and VBC. In field-cage conditions, Benningᴹᴱ and Benningᴹᴳᴴᴱ suffered 61 % less defoliation than Benning. Benningᴹᴱ⁺ᶜʳʸ¹ᴬᶜ was more resistant than Benningᴹᴱ and Benning ᶜʳʸ¹ᴬᶜ against SBL and SAW. Agriculturally relevant levels of resistance in soybean can be achieved with just two loci, QTL-M and QTL-E. ME+cry1Ac could present an opportunity to protect the durability of Bt genes in elite soybean cultivars. These results should assist the development of effective pest management strategies, and sustainable deployment of Bt genes in soybean.