History and Status of Host Plant Resistance in Cotton to Insects in the United States1
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Prior to 1892, only the cotton leafworm, Alabama argillacea, the bollworm, principally Helicoverpa zea, and the aphid or plant louse, principally Aphis gossypii were considered pest of cotton, and then only occasionally. This situation apparently meant that very little natural selection for resistance to the myriad of insect pests that attack cotton today took place from the time that cotton was introduced as a commercial crop in the United States through the 1800s. But the situation changed dramatically in 1892 when the Mexican boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis Boh.) migrated into South Texas. Thus, began a continuing battle between the American cotton producer and insects that would deprive the producer of the fruits of his labor. By 1965 over 100 species of insects and mites were known to attack cotton in the United States. To understand the present status of host plant resistance in cotton to insects, one must follow the evolution of cotton production in the United States since its introduction in 1607 at Jamestown, Virginia, and its continual, and expanded, production in this country. It is found that plant breeding research teams in the United States have made giant strides toward controlling cotton's insect pests through host plant resistance (HPR). Another benchmark is on the horizon. Genetically engineered plants await the identification of genes in almost any organism for transplant into cotton's genome. Genes from bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, that code for the production of a deadly toxin that dissolves the gut membrane of the tobacco budworm, cotton bollworm, and the pink bollworm have already been transferred into cotton. 1992, ACADEMIC PRESS, INC.
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