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Characterization of resistance to multiple aphid species (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in Medicago truncatula

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 February 2007

L.-L. Gao
CSIRO Plant IndustryPrivate Bag 5, Wembley, WA6913, Australia CSIRO Entomology, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA6913, Australia
R. Horbury
CSIRO Entomology, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA6913, Australia
R.M. Nair
South Australian Research and Development Institute, GPO Box 397, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
K.B. Singh
CSIRO Plant IndustryPrivate Bag 5, Wembley, WA6913, Australia
O.R. Edwards
CSIRO Entomology, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA6913, Australia
E-mail address:


Aphids are phloem-feeding insects that damage many important crops throughout the world yet, compared to plant–pathogen interactions, little is known about the mechanisms by which plants become resistant to aphids. Medicago truncatula (barrel medic) is widely considered as the pre-eminent model legume for genetic and biological research and in Australia is an important pasture species. Six cultivars of M. truncatula with varying levels of resistance to two pests of pasture and forage legumes, the bluegreen aphid Acyrthosiphon kondoi Shinji and the spotted alfalfa aphid Therioaphis trifolii f. maculata. (Buckton) are investigated. Two resistance phenotypes against T. trifolii f. maculata are described, one of which is particularly effective, killing most aphids within 24 h of infestation. Each resistance phenotype provided a similar but somewhat less effective degree of resistance to the closely-related spotted clover aphid Therioaphis trifolii (Monell). In the case of A. kondoi only one resistance phenotype was observed, which did not vary among different genetic backgrounds. None of the observed resistance against A. kondoiorT. trifolii f. maculata significantly affected the performance of green peach aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer) or cowpea aphid Aphis craccivora Koch. The existence of multiple aphid resistance mechanisms in similar genetic backgrounds of this model plant provides a unique opportunity to characterize the fundamental basis of plant defence to these serious agricultural pests.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006

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