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Host plant resistance towards the cabbage whitefly in Brassica oleracea and its wild relatives

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The cabbage whitefly (Aleyrodes proletella) is a phloem-feeding insect that is a serious problem in Brassica oleracea crops like Brussels sprouts, kale and savoy cabbage. In order to develop whitefly-resistant varieties it is essential to identify effective sources of resistance. In this study, we screened a large collection of 432 accessions, including wild material and landraces of Brassica oleracea as well as crop wild relatives, to determine whitefly performance in a no-choice field experiment. Putatively resistant accessions were further tested under greenhouse conditions. Resistant accessions were identified among B. oleracea var. capitata (cabbage) landraces and in the species B. villosa, B. incana and B. montana. Whereas resistance in cabbage is only expressed in plants of at least 12 weeks old, some wild relatives were already starting to express resistance at 6 weeks. This could open up possibilities for breeding cabbages that are resistant at a young(er) plant age. Our research also shows again the importance of crop wild relatives for finding pest resistances.

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We thank Greet Steenhuis and Vivien Santelli for their excellent technical assistance during the field evaluation. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for valuable suggestions. The project was funded by a grant from the EU 7th framework program for the PGR Secure project (Grant Agreement No: 266394) and a grant from the ministry of Economic affairs of the Netherlands (Project Nr. BO-26.03-009-001).

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Correspondence to K. T. B. Pelgrom.

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Pelgrom, K.T.B., Broekgaarden, C., Voorrips, R.E. et al. Host plant resistance towards the cabbage whitefly in Brassica oleracea and its wild relatives. Euphytica 202, 297–306 (2015).

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