Global food security requires increased crop productivity to meet escalating demand(1-3). Current food production systems are heavily dependent on synthetic inputs that threaten the environment and human well-being(2,4,5). Biodiversity, for instance, is key to the provision of ecosystem services such as pest control(6,7), but is eroded in conventional agricultural systems. Yet the conservation and reinstatement of biodiversity is challenging(5,8,9), and it remains unclear whether the promotion of biodiversity can reduce reliance on inputs without penalizing yields on a regional scale. Here we present results from multi-site field studies replicated in Thailand, China and Vietnam over a period of four years, in which we grew nectar-producing plants around rice fields, and monitored levels of pest infestation, insecticide use and yields. Compiling the data from all sites, we report that this inexpensive intervention significantly reduced populations of two key pests, reduced insecticide applications by 70%, increased grain yields by 5% and delivered an economic advantage of 7.5%. Additional field studies showed that predators and parasitoids of the main rice pests, together with detritivores, were more abundant in the presence of nectar-producing plants. We conclude that a simple diversification approach, in this case the growth of nectar-producing plants, can contribute to the ecological intensification of agricultural systems.
Aspects of the incidence and spread of the citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB) in relation to the vector Diaphorina citri population fluctuation were studied from January 1999 to December 2001 seasons in a 0.8 ha citrus orchard at Jemukan (1° 33'N, 110° 41'E), Southwest Sarawak in Malaysia. In relation to insecticide and horticultural mineral oils (HMOs) use, levels of HLB infection rose quite rapidly over the next 3 years in the unsprayed control and less rapidly in the other treatments such as imidacloprid, nC24HMO, and triazophos/cypermethrin/chlorpyrifos. Levels of HLB as determined by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) were 42.2%, 9.4%, 11.4%, and 22.7%, respectively. The effects of nC(24)HMO and conventional pesticides on the citrus psyllid population and parasitoids in citrus orchard were also determined.
The WRKY family of transcription factors orchestrate the reprogrammed expression of the complex network of defense genes at various biotic and abiotic stresses. Within the last 96 million years, three rounds of Musa polyploidization events had occurred from selective pressure causing duplication of MusaWRKYs with new activities. Here, we identified a total of 153 WRKY transcription factors available from the DH Pahang genome. Based on their phylogenetic relationship, the MusaWRKYs available with complete gene sequence were classified into the seven common WRKY sub-groups. Synteny analyses data revealed paralogous relationships, with 17 MusaWRKY gene pairs originating from the duplication events that had occurred within the Musa lineage. We also found 15 other MusaWRKY gene pairs originating from much older duplication events that had occurred along Arecales and Poales lineage of commelinids. Based on the synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates, the fate of duplicated MusaWRKY genes was predicted to have undergone sub-functionalization in which the duplicated gene copies retain a subset of the ancestral gene function. Also, to understand the regulatory roles of MusaWRKY during a biotic stress, Illumina sequencing was performed on resistant and susceptible cultivars during the infection of root lesion nematode, Pratylenchus coffeae. The differential WRKY gene expression analysis in nematode resistant and susceptible cultivars during challenged and unchallenged conditions had distinguished: 1) MusaWRKYs participating in general banana defense mechanism against P.coffeae common to both susceptible and resistant cultivars, 2) MusaWRKYs that may aid in the pathogen survival as suppressors of plant triggered immunity, 3) MusaWRKYs that may aid in the host defense as activators of plant triggered immunity and 4) cultivar specific MusaWRKY regulation. Mainly, MusaWRKY52, -69 and -92 are found to be P.coffeae specific and can act as activators or repressors in a defense pathway. Overall, this preliminary study in Musa provides the basis for understanding the evolution and regulatory mechanism of MusaWRKY during nematode stress.
A new gall-inducing genus and species of felt scales (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Eriococcidae) found on the leaves and twigs of Matayba guianensis (Sapindaceae) in Brazil is described: Bystracoccus Hodgson gen n. and B. mataybae Hodgson, Isaias & Oliveira sp. n. This is the first record of an eriococcid inducing leaf and stem galls on Sapindaceae and is only the second example of a member of the Eriococcidae to induce stem galls in which the insects diapause during the dry (winter) season. Only the adult female, second-instar female and crawler are known. The species overwinters as the first-instar nymph in pit galls on the twigs but spends the rest of the year associated with two-chambered galls on the leaves. It has recently become clear that South America has a rich felt-scale insect fauna many of which induce galls. It has proved very difficult to place this new genus in a family as it appears to fall between the Eriococcidae and Beesoniidae but is here placed in the eriococcids based on the similarity of the first-instar nymphs and the abundance of this family in the Neotropics. However, the dorsum of the abdomen of the mature adult female becomes heavily sclerotised, forming a round plug-like structure that completely fills the gall orifice. This structure shows remarkable morphological similarities to that of the beesoniid Danumococcus parashoreae Takagi & Hodgson found on Parashorea tomentella (Dipterocarpaceae) in Sabah, Malaysia, with which it is compared along with other eriococcid genera known from South America.
Studies on hybridization, inheritance, and population genetics of brown planthoppers that infest rice and weeds were undertaken using starch gel electrophoresis to determine whether the weed-infesting population represents a biological race or a species. F(1) and F(2) generations were produced by crosses between parental insects from the two populations with little indication of hybrid sterility. Gpi, Mdh, and Idh loci were inherited in a simple Mendelian fashion in families of two sympatric populations. Sixteen populations of Nilaparvata spp. from eight locations were collected. The Mdh, Idh, Pgm, Gpi, 6Pgd, and Acp loci were polymorphic. The N. lugens of rice with high esterase activity were clustered into a group and characterized by the presence of alleles Gpi (110) and Gpi (120), whereas N. lugens from weeds with low esterase activity were clustered into another group and characterized by Gpi (100) and Gpi (90) . There was a lack of heterozygotes between the common alleles of the two populations. This means that the two groups of individuals belong to different gene pools.
Phylogenic models for each aphelenchid family and phylogeny of the order Aphelenchida as a whole were developed on the base of detailed comparative morphological and bionomical analysis of the order. Bionomical and morphological characters having a phylogenetic significance were selected. Classification proposed by Hunt, 1993 was used as the starting-point of the study. Life cycles and their evolution in Aphelenchida were analyzed on the base of phylogenetic trees. It is concluded, that aphelenchid ancestors combined mycophagy, plant parasitic, and partly predaceous feeding. Relations of the primitive Aphelenchida with their symbionts developed from the spots of the fungal organic matter decomposition in the "nema- tode-fungi" associations, followed by a transition to the temporary endoparasitic habit omitting ectoparasitism. With a complication of the nematodes' life cycles, the insect vector (detritophagous or pollinator) transformed into the real insect host of the parasitic nematode in the 2-host life cycle (with the plant and insect hosts) or in the obligate 1-host entomoparasitic life cycle of the aphelenchid nematodes. Specialization of the aphelenchid life cycles to insect vectors followed two main ways. In the first way, the resistant to unfavorable environmental conditions nematode juveniles, known already for the primitive aphelenchids transformed into dispersal juveniles, and later into parasitic juveniles. In the second evolution line the dispersal function were laid on inseminated but non-gravid (not egg-producing) females. Both above-mentioned trends of parasitic specialization were arisen independently in different phylogenetic lines of the Aphelenchida. In each line of the parasitic development in different nematode families, the highly specialized ectoparasites, as well as endoparasites on insects, were formed. In the evolution of life cycle of parasitic nematodes, a tendency to decrease the body size took place. The function of dispersion shifted to more junior juvenile stage (the first line of specialization), or body sizes of non-gravid females and males copulated with the latter become smaller (second specialization line, till the development of dwarf males and location of the males and small inseminated non-gravid females in the uterus of gravid nematode female). The hypothetic fundamental model of the parasitic cycles' specialization in the order Aphelenchida was developed, basing on the comparison of known life cycles in different phylogenetic lines within aphelenchid families. The conception of the geographic origin and historic dispersal of the order Aphelenchida was proposed. The origin of the superfamily Aphelenchoidoidea and order Aphelenchida as a whole probably took place in eastern areas of Gondwana (parts of which are recently Hindustan, Indo-Malaya, Australia and Antarctica), presumably in the Devonian period. When the Gondwana and Laurasia paleocontinents were joined into Pangea in Carbon period, aphelenchids dispersed in the Laurasian part of Pangea. Endemism of the advanced entomophilic ectoparasitic Acugutturidae indicates on the secondary hotbed of speciation in Caribbean area. Development of the anhydrobiotic adaptations in the Aphelenchida promoted their successful invasion in the cold regions of Holarctic. Another important adaptations was the transformation of the initially resistant nematode life cycle phase into the dispersal phases vectored by insects.
The amended diagnosis of the genus Pratylenchoides and list of its valid species with synonyms are given. All the efficient diagnostic characters are listed. Modern taxonomic standard for the description of Pratylenchoides species is proposed; it may be used also in taxonomic databases. Tabular and text keys for all species of the genus are given. Five following groups are considered within the genus Pratylenchoides. The group arenicola differs from other groups in the primitive adanal bursa type; the groups magnicauda, crenicauda, ritteri, and megalobatus differ from each other in the position of cardium along the body axis in relation to the pharyngeal gland nuclei, pharynx types are named according to the stages of its evolution from the primitive tylenchoid pharynx (cardium situated posteriorly) to the advanced hoplolaimoid one (cardium situated anteriorly). Diagnoses and species compositions of the groups are given. Basing on the matrix of species characters, the dendrogram has been generated for all species of Pratylenchoides and for all characters (UPGMA, distance, mean character difference, random, characters ordered). Taking in view that the PAUP software gives equal weights to all characters, including the most important ones which define the prognostic species groups, the separate dendrograms for each prognostic species group were generated using the same above mentioned tree parameters. On the base of the records of Pratylenchoides species the matrices of plant host ranges, geographic distribution, and preferred soil-climatic conditions were developed. The dendrograms of the faunal similarities were generated using these matrices, with conclusions on a possible origin and evolution of the genus. The genus evolved from the flood lands with swampy soils and prevalence of dicotyledons (herbaceous Lamiaceae and woody Salicaceae families) to the forest mainland communities with balanced humidity and predominance of herbaceous Poaceae and Fabaceae with woody Fagaceae, Betulaceae, and Oleaceae. The leading factor of the evolutional adaptation to soil-climatic conditions was the factor of humidity, but its significance gradually decreased with the host change to more advanced plant taxa adapted to the communities with more dry balanced humidity. The genus took its origin on the south shores of Laurasia in the Cainozoe. Later, when Hindistant and Arabian Peninsula joined with Laurasia creating the Himalayas barrier, the Pratylenchoides spp. distributed by two branches: the northern one moved into Central Asia, East Europe and North America, and the south branch came into Indo-Malaya, West Asia and the north of Africa. The remnants of the ancient species groups remain in West Europe and East Asia. In the North America the genus gave an origin to its sister genus Apratylenchoides, which spread to the south up to Antarctica; another advanced branch spread in the North America reaching Alaska.