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Martin Bohn

Martin Bohn
Assistant Professor of Maize Breeding and Genetics
Department of Crop Sciences
(217) 244-2536; mbohn@illinois.edu

 

Long Term Selection for Improving the Non-Transgenic Resistance of Corn Against the Western Corn Rootworm

The Western corn rootworm is the major insect pest of corn in Illinois. One way to manage WCR is to improve the host plant resistance of corn. In contrast to monogenic resistances, such as the Bt resistance, non-transgenic host plant resistances are generally governed by multiple genes and are, therefore, much more stable and does not require a Bt management system. Long term selection approaches are likely to improve this complex character. In 2004 a recurrent selection program was initiated to broaden the genetic basis for WCR resistance by incorporating tropical and subtropical maize germplasm with proven high levels of insect resistance. Expected output of this selection program are corn cultivars with improved non-transgenic WCR resistance that will serve as a source for improving the level of WCR resistance in elite maize germplasm and for identifying the genes that are involved in the inheritance of the non-transgenic host plant resistance of maize against WCR. The use of exotic maize germplasm with improved WCR resistance will broaden the narrow genetic base of WCR resistance in adapted maize germplasm. In addition, potential new resistance mechanisms against WCR can be identified. The breeding procedure is depicted in Figure 1. Diverse maize germplasm will be screened for its level of WCR resistance. The use of this breeding procedure will ensure that different resistance mechanism present in the selected corn sources germplasm will be combined and will secure a steady selection response from cycle to cycle by efficiently using the genetic variability for WCR resistance present in the base population.

figure 1

 
Department of Crop Sciences
College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois Extension
Copyright © 2004 University of Illinois
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