Since the beginning of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago, farmers have struggled to protect their crops from insect pests. This is particularly true for maize, an important agricultural foodstuff that is vulnerable to attack by wide variety of herbivores. Plant breeding is one strategy successfully employed to develop genotypes with improved resistance to these pests. One example is the maize inbred Mp708 that has resistance to several caterpillar species that feed in the whorls and stalks.1 Mp708 was developed from exotic germplasm that originated in Antigua by selecting for plants resistant to feeding by fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) and southwestern cornborer (Diatraea grandiosella).2,3 Research to understand the mechanism of caterpillar resistance in Mp708 has revealed that it is a multigene trait regulated by several quantitative trait loci (QTL).4,5
R Shivaji, A Camas, A Ankala, J Engelberth, JH Tumlinson, WP Williams, JR Wilkinson, DS Luthe. Plants on constant alert: elevated levels of jasmonic acid and jasmonate-induced transcripts in caterpillar-resistant maize. J Chem Ecol 2010; 36: 179- 91.
PMID: 20549328 DOI: 10.1007/s10886-010-9