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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46333. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046333. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Indirect effect of a transgenic wheat on aphids through enhanced powdery mildew resistance.

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1
Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

In agricultural ecosystems, arthropod herbivores and fungal pathogens are likely to colonise the same plant and may therefore affect each other directly or indirectly. The fungus that causes powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis tritici) and cereal aphids are important pests of wheat but interactions between them have seldom been investigated. We studied the effects of powdery mildew of wheat on two cereal aphid species, Metopolophium dirhodum and Rhopalosiphum padi. We hypothesized that aphid number and size will be smaller on powdery mildew-infected plants than on non-infected plants. In a first experiment we used six commercially available wheat varieties whereas in the second experiment we used a genetically modified (GM) mildew-resistant wheat line and its non-transgenic sister line. Because the two lines differed only in the presence of the transgene and in powdery mildew resistance, experiment 2 avoided the confounding effect of variety. In both experiments, the number of M. dirhodum but not of R. padi was reduced by powdery mildew infection. Transgenic mildew-resistant lines therefore harboured bigger aphid populations than the non-transgenic lines. For both aphid species individual size was mostly influenced by aphid number. Our results indicate that plants that are protected from a particular pest (powdery mildew) became more favourable for another pest (aphids).

PMID:
23056284
PMCID:
PMC3466243
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0046333
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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