AgriLife Research scientist, Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, conducted a study to
elucidate the physiological changes that occur in commercially available
sugarcane aphid resistant and susceptible sorghum varieties. The results are
published in BMC Genomics.
Sugarcane aphids are the most important concern in sorghum production
because outbreaks can occur rapidly and unexpectedly, particularly in
locations where infestations occur alongside with sorghum bloom. Thus, Dr.
Szczepaniec designed the study and conducted it for two weeks and 6 weeks
post-emergence and were exposed to sugarcane aphid infections.
"We found that the seedling sorghum expressed significantly more genes
involved in natural plant resistance to pests than sorghum at the cusp of
panicle emergence. This was true across varieties," Dr. Szczepaniec said.
"More importantly, we found a suite of transcriptional changes in the
resistant variety that were weak or absent in the susceptible sorghum.
Specifically, the aphid-resistant variety exposed to sugarcane aphids
bolstered several genes involved in natural plant resistance to pests, and
this response was particularly robust in the two-week plants," she added.
Based on the results, the researchers recommended early planting, using
resistant sorghum varieties, and intensifying scouting and sampling,
especially during sorghum flowering.