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Cross resistance to borer pests seen in sugarcane

Researchers have found that some sugar cane varieties resistant to pests such as the sugar cane borer (SCB - Diatraea saccharalis) are also resistant to the Mexican rice borer (MRB - Eoreuma loftini), whose larvae have similar feeding behaviour. The researchers, from the South African Sugarcane Research Institute, Louisiana State University and the USDA, compared the resistance of 80 sugar cane lines from Louisiana and Texas to both pests. They found that SCB-resistant lines were 40% less likely to be infested by the MRB than SCB-susceptible lines. The phenomenon, dubbed “cross-resistance” by the researchers, could be exploited to develop new sugar cane lines resistant to both pests.

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