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Genes and genetic mechanisms contributing to fall armyworm resistance in maize
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  • Marilyn L. Warburton,
  • Sandra Woolfolk,
  • Jessie Smith,
  • Leigh Hawkins,
  • Lina Castano-Duque,
  • Matthew Lebar,
  • William Williams
Marilyn L. Warburton

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Sandra Woolfolk
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Jessie Smith
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Leigh Hawkins
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Lina Castano-Duque
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Matthew Lebar
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William Williams
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Maize (Zea mays L.) is a crop of major economic and food security importance globally. The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, can devastate entire maize crops, especially in countries or markets that do not allow the use of transgenic crops. Host-plant insect resistance is an economical and environmentally benign way to control FAW, and this study sought to identify maize lines, genes, and pathways that contribute to resistance to FAW. Of 289 maize lines phenotyped for FAW damage in artificially infested, replicated field trials over three years, 31 were identified with good levels of resistance that could donate FAW resistance into elite but susceptible hybrid parents. The 289 lines were genotyped by sequencing to provide SNP markers for a genome-wide association study (GWAS), followed by a metabolic pathway analysis using the Pathway Association Study Tool (PAST). GWAS identified 15 SNPs linked to 7 genes, and PAST identified multiple pathways, associated with FAW damage. Top pathways, and thus useful resistance mechanisms for further study, include hormone signaling pathways and the biosynthesis of carotenoids (particularly zeaxanthin), chlorophyll compounds, cuticular wax, known antibiosis agents, and 1,4-dihydroxy-2-naphthoate. Targeted metabolite analysis confirmed that maize genotypes with lower levels of FAW damage tend to have higher levels of chlorophyll a than genotypes with high FAW damage, which also tend to have lower levels of pheophytin, lutein, chlorophyll b and β-carotene. The list of resistant genotypes, and the results from the genetic, pathway, and metabolic study, can all contribute to efficient creation of FAW resistant cultivars.
12 Aug 2022Submitted to The Plant Genome
15 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
15 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
15 Aug 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 Aug 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
31 Oct 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
10 Dec 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Dec 20221st Revision Received
14 Dec 2022Submission Checks Completed
14 Dec 2022Assigned to Editor
14 Dec 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Jan 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
13 Jan 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
13 Jan 20232nd Revision Received
16 Jan 2023Submission Checks Completed
16 Jan 2023Assigned to Editor
18 Jan 2023Editorial Decision: Accept