Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A molecular approach to breeding for stemborer resistance in sugarcane.

Abstract

Lepidopteran stemborers, such as the Mexican rice borer (MRB) Eoreuma loftini and sugarcane borer (SCB) Diatraea saccharalis; are important insect pests of sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) worldwide. Alternative control strategies are needed for both species due to the high costs associated with insecticides and resulting environmental concerns. One of the most promising control strategies is host plant resistance. However, few breeding programs actively breed for insect resistance because of the absence of effective selection procedures. Recent advances in sugarcane molecular biology, such as the development of molecular markers, offer new opportunities for selection and breeding for stemborer resistance. Damage levels of both the MRB and SCB were quantified on a diverse population of 24 sugarcane clones. The evaluation was conducted under natural infestations in a randomized complete block replicated five times, where genotypes with extreme reactions were identified. Twenty nine microsatellite (SSR) fragments were evaluated for their association with resistance to both borers. Microsatellite analysis identified informative markers developed from sugarcane disease and insect resistance genes. One of these markers showed a possible association with stemborer susceptibility and is being evaluated further.