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Determining the impact of induced susceptibility on avirulent soybean aphid populations on resistant soybean

Investigators: Dr. Adam J. Varenhorst, Dr. Matthew E. O'Neal, Dr. Michael T. McCarville

Observations of virulent Aphis glycines populations on resistant soybean in North America occurred prior to the commercial release of Rag genes. Laboratory assays confirmed the presence of four A. glycines biotypes in North America defined by their virulence to the Rag1 and Rag2 genes. Avirulent and virulent biotypes can co-occur and potentially interact on soybean, which may result in induced susceptibility. We conducted a series of experiments to determine if the survival of avirulent biotypes on susceptible and resistant soybean containing the Rag1 or Rag1+Rag2 genes was affected by the presence of either avirulent or virulent conspecifics. Regardless of virulence to Rag genes, initial feeding by conspecifics increased the survival of subsequent A. glycines populations on both susceptible and resistant soybean. Avirulent populations increased at the same rate as virulent populations if the resistant plants were initially colonized with virulent aphids. These results are the first to demonstrate that virulent A. glycines increase the suitability of resistant soybean for avirulent conspecifics, thus explaining the lack of genetic differentiation observed in North America between A. glycines populations on resistant and susceptible soybean. These results suggest the occurrence of virulence towards Rag genes in North America may be overestimated. In addition this may alter the selection pressure for virulence genes to increase in a population. Therefore, insect resistance management models for A. glycines may need to incorporate induced susceptibility factors to determine the relative durability of resistance genes. 

Aphis glycines