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Keywords:

  • behavior;
  • expressed sequence tag;
  • gene expression;
  • microarray;
  • resistance

Abstract

As pest species may evolve resistance to chemical controls, they may also evolve resistance to cultural control methods. Yearly rotation of corn (Zea mays) with another crop interrupts the life cycle of the western corn rootworm beetle (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), but behavioral resistance to crop rotation is now a major problem in the Midwest of the USA. Resistant adult females exhibit reduced fidelity to corn as a host and lay their eggs in the soil of both corn and soybean (Glycine max) fields. Behavioral assays suggest that the adaptation is related to increased locomotor activity, but finding molecular markers has been difficult. We used microarray analysis to search for gene expression differences between resistant and wild-type beetles. Candidates validated with real-time polymerase chain reaction exhibit predicted patterns from the microarray in independent samples across time and space. Many genes more highly expressed in the rotation-resistant females have no matches to known proteins, and most genes that were more lowly expressed are involved in antimicrobial defense.