Genetic resistance is a useful control strategy for managing Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko), in wheat, Triticum aestivum L. In 2003, a Russian wheat aphid population (denoted as biotype 2) identified in Colorado was virulent to genotypes carrying the Dn4 Russian wheat aphid resistance gene, necessitating the rapid identification and deployment of new sources of resistance. Although the Dn7 gene had shown excellent resistance to Russian wheat aphid biotypes 1 and 2 in evaluations in the greenhouse, no information is available on the amount of protection provided by Dn7 under field conditions. The objective of this study was to compare the reaction of Dn4- and Dn7-carrying spring wheat genotypes under artificial infestation by Russian wheat aphid biotype 1 in the field. Irrigated field experiments were conducted in 2003 and 2004 in a split-split plot arrangement with six replications. The whole plot treatment was infestation level (control, 1×, and 10× Russian wheat aphids), and the subplot treatment was resistance source (Dn4- and Dn7-carrying genotypes). The sub-subplot treatment consisted of side-by-side planting of resistant and susceptible genotypes. The Dn4 subplot was significantly more damaged than the Dn7 subplot in 2003, but not in 2004. Interaction effects observed in 2004 suggested an advantage of Dn7 relative to Dn4 in terms of reduced Russian wheat aphid abundance and plant damage. Deployment of the Dn7 Russian wheat aphid resistance gene should provide protection in the field comparable with that provided by the Dn4 resistance gene for management of Russian wheat aphid biotype 1.
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