Beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua (Hubner) is a generalist caterpillar that causes severe economic damage to a wide range of agricultural crops including tomato plant, Solanum lycopersicum L. When beet armyworm is fed with methyl jasmonate induced plants, literature has shown that cannibalism occurs at a faster rate but no literature has reported the alteration in gene expression of this generalist species in connection with cannibalism. This study investigated the gene expressions of this beet armyworm in two cannibalism experiments: the first experiment used primers of Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) and a follow up experiment had primers of Spodoptera exigua. A qPCR was done on selected genes and analyzed. From the first qPCR, the expressions of all six genes (aminopeptidase, chitinase, glucose oxidase, juvenile hormone, lipase, and lysozyme) varied and shows mostly up-regulated expressions of the protease inhibitors. qPCR results for the follow-up experiment showed higher stimulation of immunity genes in cannibalistic caterpillars (ANOVA, Fisher’s LSD, p < 0.05, N = 5). In line with my hypothesis, most digestive genes (APEP, GOX, LYZ, LPS) were up-regulated across the samples except in cannibalism with induced plant. The defense gene CHITINASE was up-regulated in both experiments except in induced tomato (ANOVA, Fisher’s LSD, p < 0.05, N = 5). The trend in these expressions especially as observed in the immunity genes and proteases support my hypothesis of differential gene expressions between cannibalism and herbivory.
|Advisor:||Musser, Richard O., Hum-Musser, Sue|
|School:||Western Illinois University|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 81/2(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Cannibalism, Entomology, Gene expression, Plant-animal interaction|
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