Research Shows Caterpillars Trick Corn Plants to Lower their DefensesSeptember 16, 2015
Chemical ecologists in Pennsylvania State University have uncovered a deception that has likely evolved over a thousand years. They found that caterpillars have tricked corn plants by defecating on crevasses where the leaves meet the stalks. Large amounts of frass accumulate in the structures and remain there for a long period of time.
According to Dawn Luthe, professor of plant stress biology, the caterpillar frass tricks the plant into sensing that it is being attacked by fungal pathogens, and mounting a defense against them, suppressing the plant's defenses against herbivores. Plants cannot defend against pathogens and insect attackers simultaneously, and need to switch on either their pathway to defend against herbivores or their pathway to defend against pathogens.
The research may lead to plants genetically modified to incorporate the proteins from the frass to boost a crop's native resistance to pathogens. Caterpillar frass is composed of molecules derived from the host plant, the insect itself, and associated microbes, and hence it provides abundant cues that may alter plant defense responses, explained lead researcher Swayamjit Ray.
For more information, read the news release at the Penn State website.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Farmers in Kenya Support Government Plan to Lift Ban on Biotech Crops
- Research Shows Caterpillars Trick Corn Plants to Lower their Defenses
- Genetic Engineering Transforms Common Plant to Produce Cancer Drug
- Scientists Asks for Deregulation of Bt eggplant to Unchoke Regulatory Pipeline in India
- U.S.-Pakistan Wheat Breeders' Cooperation Develops Unique Pool of Wheat Genetics to Fight Wheat Diseases
- Chinese Scientists Complete Genome Sequence of Bacillus thuringiensis Strain HD521
- New Method to Predict Plant Size at Maturity Based on Genetic Markers
- EU Regulators and Food Suppliers Can Now Access Online GM Crop Database
- GM Plants Could Help Eliminate Food Poisoning
- Expression of β-glucosidase Increases Trichome Density and Artemisinin Content in Sweet Wormwood
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Scientists Reveal Novel Genes Affecting Sex Determination in Yellow Catfish
From the BICs
- Ugandan Scientists and Journalists Strive to Find a Middle Ground
- Filipino Experts and Agri Stakeholders Discuss Gender and GM Crops
- Biotech Crop Annual Updates
- New Infographic Shows Process of Getting GM Crops to Market
Subscribe to CBU: