Indirect response to selection for improving resistance to the Mediterranean corn borer (Sesamia nonagrioides Lef) in maize
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Mediterranean corn borer (MCB) (Sesamia nonagrioides Lef) and European corn borer (ECB) (Ostrinia nubilalis Hbn) are the most important biotic stresses of maize in Europe. The first selection program to improve stalk resistance to MCB was carried out in the maize population EPS12. It has shown that selection was effective to improve stalk resistance to MCB and ECB, while yield was not significantly diminished. The objective of this research was to determine if correlated changes in EPS12 occurred due to selection for resistance to MCB. Cycles of selection per se and testcrosses to three testers were evaluated under MCB and ECB artificial infestation at two different Spanish locations during 2 years. Selection has significantly reduced cob damage, days to silking, plant and ear height, and 100-kernel weight; meanwhile early vigor was increased. These changes could rather be a consequence of unconscious selection and/or the genetic correlation of these traits with resistance than a consequence of genetic drift.
KeywordsInsect resistance Intrapopulation recurrent selection Mediterranean corn borer Maize Sesamia nonagrioides Lef
Research supported by the Plan Nacional I+D+I (AGL2003-00961 and AGL2006-1314). G. Sandoya acknowledges a fellowship from the Ministry of the Education and Science that allowed him to carry out this study; part of this study is a thesis by the senior author for the Ph.D. degree. Authors thank Raquel Díaz and Emma Muiñoz for rearing insects. Also thank to the whole field team at Misión Biológica de Galicia for field work.
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