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Graduate Student: Laura Ingwell
Vector responses to virus-induced changes in the host plant: the wheat-Barley
yellow dwarf virus-Rhopalosiphum padi pathosystem
Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) causes a major disease in cereal crops,
resulting in yield losses up to 70% in individual fields.
BYDV is transmitted by aphids in a persistent circulative manner.
The bird-cherry oat aphid,
Rhopalosiphum padi (BCOA), is the most efficient vector of the
BYDV-PAV serotype. Recent
research working in this pathosystem has found that BYDV-infected wheat
is preferred over non-infected wheat plants by the aphid vector.
This preference may be attributed to changes that plants infected
with virus undergo, such as chlorosis, olfactory or gustatory
perception. BYDV-infected wheat
specifically has been found to emit a volatile blend of virus-induced
compounds that are one of the attractive aspects of virus-infected
plants compared to non-infected plants.
My research is focused on gaining a better understanding of the
dynamic relationships in this pathosystem by examining the behavioral
responses of the aphid vector (BCOA) to BYDV-infected plants in a
variety of laboratory and field experiments.
The implications of this research include improved vector
management to reduce the disease impacts and economic damages associated
with persistently transmitted viruses, the potential for incorporating
virus-induced volatiles into vector manipulation and virus control, and
an overall increase in our understanding of vector ecology and virus