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Can plant be protected by insects?

August 17th, 2011

Can plant be protected by insects when they are attacked by pests?
The mechanisms of resistance to pests put in place by landraces to defend themselves from pests attacks are a very important source of resistance. With globalization, both resistant varieties and pests and pathogens move around As a consequence resistance genes in secondary centres of diversity evolve in response to new pathogens and pest, as well as there being remnants of resistance from old diseases in other regions. This phenomenon creates the potential to find resistance diversity in countries of secondary centres of diversity not found in the primary diversity centres. At the same time new pests and pathogens can cause serious damages to local crops when inadvertently introduced in one given region. This is the case of the spotted stemborer, Chilo partellus, which is now a major pest in eastern and southern Africa, as well as South Asia where it causes yield losses of up to 88%. Since establishing in east Africa in the 1950s, it has spread to southern and central Africa. A source of resistance to this important maize pest was identified in south America. In this case, agricultural biodiversity was the solution. A research team found how the mechanisms work and Prof. Maurice Maloney, Director of Rothamsted Research, stated “The work shows that there is enormous genetic potential in landraces of staple crops and that this aspect of biodiversity can be harnessed beneficially to increase yields in the most needy geographies”. If you want to know more about this important work click here