Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Evolutionary Applications 8 (2015), pp. 692–704. doi:10.1111/eva.12278


© 2015 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.


The western corn rootworm (WCR, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) is an important pest of corn. Annual crop rotation between corn and soybean disrupts the corn-dependent WCR life cycle and is widely adopted to manage this pest. This strategy selected for rotation-resistant (RR) WCR with reduced ovipositional fidelity to corn. Previous studies revealed that RR-WCR adults exhibit greater tolerance of soybean diets, different gut physiology, and host–microbe interactions compared to rotation-susceptible wild types (WT). To identify the genetic mechanisms underlying these phenotypic changes, a de novo assembly of the WCR adult gut transcriptome was constructed and used for RNA-sequencing analyses of RNA libraries from different WCR phenotypes fed with corn or soybean diets. Global gene expression profiles of WT- and RR-WCR were similar when feeding on corn diets, but different when feeding on soybean. Using network- based methods, we identified gene modules transcriptionally correlated with the RR phenotype. Gene ontology enrichment analyses indicated that the functions of these modules were related to metabolic processes, immune responses, biological adhesion, and other functions/processes that appear to correlate to documented traits in RR populations. These results suggest that gut transcriptomic divergence correlated with brief soybean feeding and other physiological traits may exist between RR- and WT-WCR adults.

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