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Team discovers how western corn rootworm resists crop rotation
Date:7/19/2012

p>This difference allows the rotation-resistant beetles to survive on soybeans for two or three days just long enough, the researchers said, for some of them to lay their eggs in bean fields. In spring, when the same fields are planted in corn, the rootworm larvae emerge to feed on corn roots.

Illinois insect behaviorist and co-author Joseph Spencer of the Illinois Natural History Survey , part of the U. of I. Prairie Research Institute, said that before this study, researchers studying rotation resistance were looking at the insects and insect behavior in isolation, thus missing their interaction with plants as a potential clue to the problem.

"You have to include the soybean in the equation," Spencer said. "It is not a passive player. The beetle has changed its behavior but what facilitates this change in behavior is this change in expression of these digestive proteinases. That allows them to stay in the soybeans longer. We had ignored this aspect of the biology."


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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