, Volume 14, Issue 10, pp 1941-1950

Bioassays of segregating plants

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Solanum chacoense is a wild potato species resistant to the Colorado potato beetle,Leptinotarsa decemlineata. Most genotypes ofS. chacoense synthesize the glycoalkaloids solanine (sol) and chaconine (chac) and are hosts of the beetle. A few rare genotypes have a gene(s) for acetylation of carbon-23 of the steroid aglycone of sol and chac. Laboratory bioassays and replicated field tests of clones differing in the presence or absence of the acetyl moiety showed that acetylation of sol and chac markedly affects the response of both adults and larvae to the foliage. Adult feeding deterrency conferred by acetylated forms of sol and chac (leptines) in leaf-disk preference tests was consistent with the degree of antixenosis measured in the field. Development of larvae on foliage of clones with leptines was also inhibited. The studies support the validity of using laboratory bioassays of plants segregating for levels of a suspected defense compound to determine the role the compound has in defending the plant from attack by an insect predator in the field.