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Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Jan 7;267(1438):89-95.

Glucosinolate genetics and the attraction of the aphid parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae to Brassica.

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  • 1John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, UK.


The control of insect pests using parasitoids and carnivores has been successfully applied in protected cropping systems, orchards and forestry. Their success in annual field crops has been more limited due largely to the difficulties of attracting and maintaining a sufficient density of parasitoids in the crop before the levls of the insect herbivores become economically damaging. Parasitoids are known to be attracted to host-plant volatiles; thus, manipulating the host-plant chemistry may provide a means of enhancing the attraction of parasitoids to their prey. In this study we describe the differential attraction of the braconid wasp Diaeretiella rapae to two near-isogenic lines of Brassica oleracea which differ in a gene which alters the chemical structure of the isothiocyanates which are emitted following tissue damage. We demonstrate that, by enhancing the production of but-3-enyl isothiocyanate in B. oleracea and Brassica napus (oilseed rape), we can increase the attraction of D. rapae to these plants under standard field conditions.

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