Aphid Resistance in Soybeans

In 2008, the economic loss for the soybean industry due to the presence of aphids was estimated to be approximately 4 billion US dollars annually (Kim et al, 2008). Aphid infestation can decrease soybean yield as high as 50% (Wang et al., 1994; Ragsdale et al., 2007). High aphid populations can reduce crop production directly when their feeding causing severe damage such as stunting, leaf distortion, and reduced pod set (Sun et al., 1990). Although proper use of insecticides can greatly reduce the damaging effects of aphids on soybean yield, this approach is costly (∼33 U.S. dollars/hectare), detrimental for the environment and can lead to the development of insecticide resistant aphids. In addition, this practice could also adversely affect the population of insects that normally prey on aphids (Ragsdale et al., 2007).

Aphis glycines, and a close relative A. gossipii, are the only aphid species found colonizing soybean in the Unites States (Hill et al., 2004). To date, four soybean aphid biotypes are now known in relation to resistance genes. Depending on the type of soybean aphid, there are different resistance gene combinations from the soybean plant that offer tolerance to these pests.

The use of soybean lines naturally resistant to aphids is another management approach to control soybean aphids. By selecting the varieties that are resistant to the biotypes of aphids most prevalent in ND, farmers will decrease aphid damage and decrease yield losses due to aphids. Farmers will decrease insecticide applications reducing costs and impact on the environment.

Scientists at the NAGC have optimized high throughput assays to screen soybean varieties for Rag1Rag2Rag3 genes. From the genetic work of our collaborator, Dr. Brian Diers (University of Illinois-Urbana) and research from Dr. Dechun Wang (Michigan State University), identification of genetic markers linked to the Rag genes have made it possible to rapidly screen new soybean varieties for aphid resistance.

This project was funded in part by the North Dakota Soybean Council.



Zhang S., Z. Zhang, C. Bales, C. Gu, C. DiFonzo, M. Li, Q. Song, P. Cregan, Z. Yang and D. Wang. 2017. Mapping novel aphid resistance QTL from wild soybean, Glycine soja 85-32. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 1-12.





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