Biotech Updates

Aphids Weaken Soybean Genetic Defenses and Open Door for Other Pests

October 17, 2012

Soybeans that are affected by aphids eventually become susceptible to nematodes, a report published in the journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions says. Aphids can short circuit the hormonal defense mechanisms in soybeans that are meant to combat insect infestations as well as other pests such as cyst nematode. A successful aphid infestation blocks the soybean plant's natural defenses by inducing a response to environmental stress. The soybean plant goes through a number of changes making the plant more susceptible to soybean cyst nematode. This is true also even in genetically resistant soybean to cyst nematode.

The researchers at Iowa State University led by Gustavo Macintosh also found that nematodes reproduce better if there is a successful aphid infestation, however, nematodes have a negative effect on aphid population. Macintosh said he hopes that his research will lead to soybean varieties that will be more resistant to aphids and other pests.

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