Inbreeding compromises host plant defense gene expression and improves herbivore survival

Scott L. Portman, Rupesh R. Kariyat, Michelle A. Johnston, Andrew G. Stephenson, James H. Marden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Inbreeding commonly occurs in flowering plants and often results in a decline in the plant's defense response. Insects prefer to feed and oviposit on inbred plants more than outbred plants - suggesting that selecting inbred host plants offers them fitness benefits. Until recently, no studies have examined the effects of host plant inbreeding on insect fitness traits such as growth and dispersal ability. In a recent article, we documented that tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta L.) larvae that fed on inbred horsenettle (Solanum carolinense L.) plants exhibited accelerated larval growth and increased adult flight capacity compared to larvae that fed on outbred plants. Here we report that M. sexta mortality decreased by 38.2% when larvae were reared on inbred horsenettle plants compared to larvae reared on outbreds. Additionally, inbred plants showed a notable reduction in the average relative expression levels of LIPOXYGENEASE-D (LoxD) and 12-OXOPHYTODIENOATE REDUCTASE-3 (OPR3), two genes in the jasmonic acid signaling pathway that are upregulated in response to herbivore damage. Our study presents evidence that furthers our understanding of the biochemical mechanism responsible for differences in insect performance on inbred vs. outbred host plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Inbreeding compromises host plant defense gene expression and improves herbivore survival'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this