Over the last 70 yr, more than 12,000 maize accessions have been screened for their level of resistance to western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (LeConte; Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), larval feeding. Less than 1% of this germplasm was selected for initiating recurrent selection or other breeding programs. Selected genotypes were mostly characterized by large root systems and superior root regrowth after root damage caused by western corn rootworm larvae. However, no hybrids claiming native (i.e., host plant) resistance to western corn rootworm larval feeding are currently commercially available. We investigated the genetic basis of western corn rootworm resistance in maize materials with improved levels of resistance using linkage disequilibrium mapping approaches. Two populations of topcrossed doubled haploid maize lines (DHLs) derived from crosses between resistant and susceptible maize lines were evaluated for their level of resistance in three to four different environments. For each DHL topcross an average root damage score was estimated and used for quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis. We found genomic regions contributing to western corn rootworm resistance on all maize chromosomes, except for chromosome 4. Models fitting all QTL simultaneously explained about 30 to 50% of the genotypic variance for root damage scores in both mapping populations. Our findings confirm the complex genetic structure of host plant resistance against western corn rootworm larval feeding in maize. Interestingly, three of these QTL regions also carry genes involved in ascorbate biosynthesis, a key compound we hypothesize is involved in the expression of western corn rootworm resistance.
- Diabrotica virgifera virgifera
- Host plant resistance
- Insect resistance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science