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Degen T.,University of Neuchatel | Bakalovic N.,University of Neuchatel | Bergvinson D.,Centro International Of Mejoramiento Of Maiz Y Trigo Cimmyt | Bergvinson D.,Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Turlings T.C.J.,University of Neuchatel

Plant volatiles induced by insect feeding are known to attract natural enemies of the herbivores. Six maize inbred lines that showed distinctly different patterns of volatile emission in laboratory assays were planted in randomized plots in the Central Mexican Highlands to test their ability to recruit parasitic wasps under field conditions. The plants were artificially infested with neonate larvae of the fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda, and two of its main endoparasitoids, Campoletis sonorensis and Cotesia marginiventris, were released in the plots. Volatiles were collected from equally treated reference plants in the neighbourhood of the experimental field. The cumulative amount of 36 quantified volatile compounds determined for each line was in good accordance with findings from the laboratory; there was an almost 15-fold difference in total emission between the two extreme lines. We found significant differences among the lines with respect to the numbers of armyworms recovered from the plants, their average weight gain and parasitism rates. Average weight of the caterpillars was negatively correlated with the average total amount of volatiles released by the six inbred lines. However, neither total volatile emission nor any specific single compound within the blend could explain the differential parasitism rates among the lines, with the possible exception of (E)-2-hexenal for Campoletis sonorensis and methyl salicylate for Cotesia marginiventris. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles and/or correlates thereof contribute to reducing insect damage of maize plants through direct plant defence and enhanced attraction of parasitoids, alleged indirect defence. The potential to exploit these volatiles for pest control deserves to be further evaluated. © 2012 Degen et al. Source

Mir C.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Zerjal T.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Combes V.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Dumas F.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 16 more authors.
Theoretical and Applied Genetics

Maize was first domesticated in a restricted valley in south-central Mexico. It was diffused throughout the Americas over thousands of years, and following the discovery of the New World by Columbus, was introduced into Europe. Trade and colonization introduced it further into all parts of the world to which it could adapt. Repeated introductions, local selection and adaptation, a highly diverse gene pool and outcrossing nature, and global trade in maize led to difficulty understanding exactly where the diversity of many of the local maize landraces originated. This is particularly true in Africa and Asia, where historical accounts are scarce or contradictory. Knowledge of post-domestication movements of maize around the world would assist in germplasm conservation and plant breeding efforts. To this end, we used SSR markers to genotype multiple individuals from hundreds of representative landraces from around the world. Applying a multidisciplinary approach combining genetic, linguistic, and historical data, we reconstructed possible patterns of maize diffusion throughout the world from American "contribution" centers, which we propose reflect the origins of maize worldwide. These results shed new light on introductions of maize into Africa and Asia. By providing a first globally comprehensive genetic characterization of landraces using markers appropriate to this evolutionary time frame, we explore the post-domestication evolutionary history of maize and highlight original diversity sources that may be tapped for plant improvement in different regions of the world. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA). Source

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