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Applied research on host-plant resistance to arthropod pests has been guided over the past 60 years by a framework originally developed by Reginald Painter in his 1951 book, Insect Resistance in Crop Plants. Painter divided the "phenomena" of resistance into three "mechanisms," nonpreference (later renamed antixenosis), antibiosis, and tolerance. The weaknesses of this framework are discussed. In particular, this trichotomous framework does not encompass all known mechanisms of resistance, and the antixenosis and antibiosis categories are ambiguous and inseparable in practice. These features have perhaps led to a simplistic approach to understanding arthropod resistance in crop plants. A dichotomous scheme is proposed as a replacement, with a major division between resistance (plant traits that limit injury to the plant) and tolerance (plant traits that reduce amount of yield loss per unit injury), and the resistance category subdivided into constitutive/inducible and direct/indirect subcategories. The most important benefits of adopting this dichotomous scheme are to more closely align the basic and applied literatures on plant resistance and to encourage a more mechanistic approach to studying plant resistance in crop plants. A more mechanistic approach will be needed to develop novel approaches for integrating plant resistance into pest management programs. © 2012 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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Insect Science

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