News International Sugar Journal

Insect pests drive geographic variation in plant defenses [Registered]

Herbivorous insects, such as aphids, damage plants and can substantially reduce yields in agricultural settings; however, they can play a major role in maintaining genetic diversity. Ecologists Tobias Züst and Lindsay Turnbull from the University of Zurich together with colleagues from California and Great Britain demonstrated the importance of variation in herbivore communities using the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Findings are reported in the 5 October issue of Science. According to Züst, the work is one of the first experimental confirmations of a forty-year-old theory that herbivorous insects exert strong selective pressure on their host plants. Moreover, plants were quick…

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