In addition to our contribution to the understanding of the molecular events that mediate compatible plant-aphid interactions, we have also investigated the use of host plant resistance genes as a method of aphid control. We have determined molecular mechanisms associated with resistance, and we investigated the effect of combining different resistance genes in one plant at the molecular level, a novel line of research that identified unexpected synergistic effects of this gene pyramiding approach. These synergistic effects could be highly relevant on management strategies, as aphids are fast-evolving insects that can overcome resistance in a short period of time. We also identified new sources of resistance through the screening of soybean germplasm and identified candidate genes underlying these resistance traits.
Aphid quality changes after feeding on susceptible or resistant plants. Unpublished image from Dr. Martha Natukunda.
Related research: Natukunda et al (2019) Journal of economic entomology 112 (3), 1428-1438