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Contact: Joerg Degenhardt
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Western Corn Rootworm

Caption: The Western corn rootworm (insert) is a devastating pest of maize roots. By emitting the volatile compound E-beta-caryophyllene in response to rootworm feeding, maize plants naturally attract insect-killing nematodes. Using genetic transformation, the signal was restored in an American line and in field tests it was shown that this dramatically increased the protection that the plants received from the nematodes.

Credit: Matthias Held and Sergio Rasmann, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

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Related news release: Restoring a natural root signal helps to fight a major corn pest

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