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Inheritance of resistance to mammalian herbivores and of plant defensive chemistry in an eucalyptus species


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O'Reilly-Wapstra, J ORCID: 0000-0003-4801-4412, Potts, BM, McArthur, C, Davies, NW and Tilyard, P 2005 , 'Inheritance of resistance to mammalian herbivores and of plant defensive chemistry in an eucalyptus species' , Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol. 31, no. 2 , pp. 357-375 , doi: 10.1007/s10886-005-1346-9.

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Hybridization in plants provides an opportunity to investigate the
patterns of inheritance of hybrid resistance to herbivores, and of the plant mechanisms
conferring this resistance such as plant secondary metabolites. We investigated
how inter-race differences in resistance of Eucalyptus globulus to a
generalist mammalian herbivore, Trichosurus vulpecula, are inherited in their
F1 hybrids. We assessed browsing damage of 3-year-old trees in a common
environment field trial on four hybrid types of known progeny. The progeny
were artificial intra-race crosses and reciprocal inter-race F1 hybrids of two geographically
distinct populations (races) of E. globulus north-eastern Tasmania
and south-eastern Tasmania. Populations of trees from north-eastern Tasmania
are relatively susceptible to browsing by T. vulpecula, while populations
from south-eastern Tasmania are more resistant. We assessed the preferences
of these trees in a series of paired feeding trials with captive animals to test
the field trial results and also investigated the patterns of inheritance of plant
secondary metabolites. Our results demonstrated that the phenotypic expression
of resistance of the inter-race F1 hybrids supported the additive pattern
of inheritance, as these hybrids were intermediate in resistance compared to
the pure parental hybrids. The expression of plant secondary metabolites in
the F1 hybrids varied among major groups of individual compounds. The most common pattern supported was dominance towards one of the parental types.
Together, condensed tannins and essential oils appeared to explain the observed
patterns of resistance among the four hybrid types. While both chemical groups
were inherited in a dominant manner in the inter-race F1 hybrids, the direction
of dominance was opposite. Their combined concentration, however, was
inherited in an additive manner, consistent with the phenotypic differences in

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:O'Reilly-Wapstra, J and Potts, BM and McArthur, C and Davies, NW and Tilyard, P
Keywords: Trichosurus vulpecula, hybrid, plant secondary metabolites, generalist herbivore, additive inheritance, Eucalyptus globulus, hybridization.
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Chemical Ecology
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s10886-005-1346-9
Additional Information:

BM Potts. The original publication is available at

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