Performance and prospects of Rag genes for management of soybean aphid

Louis S. Hesler, Mariana V. Chiozza, Matthew E. O'Neal, Gustavo C. MacIntosh, Kelley J. Tilmon, Desmi I. Chandrasena, Nicholas A. Tinsley, Silvia R. Cianzio, Alejandro C. Costamagna, Eileen M. Cullen, Christina D. Difonzo, Bruce D Potter, David W. Ragsdale, Kevin Steffey, Kenneth J. Koehler

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is an invasive insect pest of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr. (Fabaceae)] in North America, and it has led to extensive insecticide use in northern soybean-growing regions there. Host plant resistance is one potential alternative strategy for managing soybean aphid. Several Rag genes that show antibiosis and antixenosis to soybean aphid have been recently identified in soybean, and field-testing and commercial release of resistant soybean lines have followed. In this article, we review results of field tests with soybean lines containing Rag genes in North America, then present results from a coordinated regional test across several field sites in the north-central USA, and finally discuss prospects for use of Rag genes to manage soybean aphids. Field tests conducted independently at multiple sites showed that soybean aphid populations peaked in late summer on lines with Rag1 or Rag2 and reached economically injurious levels on susceptible lines, whereas lines with a pyramid of Rag1 + Rag2 held soybean aphid populations below economic levels. In the regional test, aphid populations were generally suppressed by lines containing one of the Rag genes. Aphids reached putative economic levels on Rag1 lines for some site years, but yield loss was moderated, indicating that Rag1 may confer tolerance to soybean aphid in addition to antibiosis and antixenosis. Moreover, no yield penalty has been found for lines with Rag1, Rag2, or pyramids. Results suggest that use of aphid-resistant soybean lines with Rag genes may be viable for managing soybean aphids. However, virulent biotypes of soybean aphid were identified before release of aphid-resistant soybean, and thus a strategy for optimal deployment of aphid-resistant soybean is needed to ensure sustainability of this technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-216
Number of pages16
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Aphididae
  • Aphis glycines
  • Crop protection
  • Fabaceae
  • Hemiptera
  • Host plant resistance
  • Pest management
  • Virulent biotypes
  • Yield penalty


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