Levi Blue
Levi Blue
Year: 2012
Faculty Advisor: Georg Jander

Identifying Quantitative Trait Loci for Spodoptera exigua Resistance in Maize

In some geographic regions of the world the relatively high abundance of the Spodoptera exigua, beet armyworm, causes severe crop losses. This leads to the heavy application of insecticides, which can have potential deleterious effects on the environment and could result in the outbreak of other pests. Our research is aimed at reducing the plant injury that is brought on by beat armyworms. Based on preliminary experiments with 26 maize inbred lines, we identified three maize lines (P39, B73, and Oh7B) that show significant differences in their resistance to the beet armyworm. To map genes influencing beet armyworm resistance, we measured caterpillar growth on B73 x Oh7B and B73 x P39 recombinant inbred populations. In the P39 recombinant inbred population, quantitative trait loci were identified on chromosomes one and four. Candidate genes were selected for further analysis and once identified would aid in marker assisted selection for beet armyworm resistance in maize.

My Experience

As a biology major, I have always had a desire to understand exactly what takes place in a research setting. Spending my summer here at BTI has not only fulfilled that inner desire, but has also given me the tools and knowledge to further excel along my career path. Two years ago, before my first year in college, I would have never imagined that someday the opportunity would present itself for me to engage with experts in the field of plant biology. While my background does come from growing up in underprivileged area, I must say that participating in this internship on such a prestigious campus has been extremely wonderful and I am truly grateful for being given the chance to experience two full months of hands-on research. Though I was not experienced in the field, my mentor and other members of the Jander lab were helpful and encouraging in every possible manner. Within my short span of time here, I have gained high hopes for a scientific research career.