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Heredity (Edinb). 2004 Dec;93(6):619-26.

Genetic architecture of resistance to aphids and mites in a willow hybrid system.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604, USA.


Hybrid plants often differ in resistance to arthropods compared to the parental species from which they are derived. To better understand the relative contribution of genetic effects in influencing plant resistance to arthropods, we examined the genetic architecture of resistance in a willow hybrid system, Salix eriocephala, S. sericea, and their interspecific hybrids. Resistance to two arthropods, a willow leaf aphid (Chaitophorus sp.: Aphididae) and an eriophyoid mite (Aculops tetanothrix: Eriophyidae), were compared because resistance to different herbivores may be controlled by different traits and influenced by different genetic effects. We found additive and nonadditive genetic effects to be important in explaining the difference between willow species in resistance to aphids and mites. F2 hybrids exhibited low resistance to aphids, suggesting breakdown of favourable epistatic interactions that confer resistance. F2 hybrids, however, exhibited high resistance to mites, suggesting either the breakdown of interactions that affect traits used by mites in host location or the creation of favourable epistatic interactions. This study demonstrates the potential role of herbivores in affecting plant genetic structure, such that selection by herbivores can potentially lead to the creation of gene interactions that influence host resistance traits or host recognition traits used by the herbivore.

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