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Rice, Oryza sativa, is the most important staple food for a significant portion of the world's population. Despite the importance of rice, however, induced resistance to insects has not been thoroughly studied in rice; in fact, to our knowledge, direct induced resistance after injury by chewing insects has not been shown in rice. We conducted a series of experiments designed to characterize direct induced resistance in rice after feeding by larvae of the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda J. E. Smith) and application ofjasmonic acid. Weight gains and relative growth rates of fall armyworm larvae were lower when fed leaves from plants previously damaged by armyworms than when fed leaves from undamaged plants. This response was stronger at a systemic spatial scale; that is, the induced resistance was stronger in newly emerged leaves not present at the time plants were damaged than in damaged leaves themselves. Armyworm growth rates were also reduced on foliage from plants treated with jasmonic acid, a hormone known to mediate plant responses to wounding. The response to injury by armyworm larvae and to exogenous jasmonic acid was stronger in transgenic rice plants in which levels of salicylic acid (a signaling molecule that inhibits jasmonic acid) were suppressed. These results show the existence of a direct induced resistance response in rice and suggest that this response to injury by a chewing insect may be mediated by jasmonic acid. © 2009 Entomological Society of America.

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Environmental Entomology

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