Evolution of Western corn rootworm population - Essay Example

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The aim of the research study was to find out how the western corn rootworm can thrive in fields that alternate between plantation of corn and soybeans. In the 20th century, there was decline in crop rotation in the U.S due to the use of fertilizers and insecticides. However,…
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Evolution of Western corn rootworm population
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Evolution of Western Corn Rootworm Population Evolution of Western Corn Rootworm Population The aim of the research study was to find out how the western corn rootworm can thrive in fields that alternate between plantation of corn and soybeans. In the 20th century, there was decline in crop rotation in the U.S due to the use of fertilizers and insecticides. However, insecticides began to fail in the 1950s and crop rotation was introduced to kill worms that fed on corn. This method became effective for long but some year’s later rootworm damage was seen in the crop-rotated fields. The researchers found out that the rootworm had developed the ability to survive in the chemical warfare with soybeans by producing enzyme inhibitors that enabled them digest proteins in the soybeans leaves.
The characteristic that has allowed some Western corn root worm populations to become resistant to corn - soybean- corn rotation is that they produce higher levels of special class proteinases (cathepsin-L) that respond to soybeans defenses (Yates, 2012).
Darwin’s theory of natural selection states that evolutionary change occurs when individuals produce variations in each generation and differential ways of survival by combining these variable characters. Individuals with variable characteristics, which increase their chances of survival, will have more opportunities to reproduce and their offspring will benefit from these advantageous characteristics. Similar to this theory, the western corn rootworm has evolved to produce enzymes in their gut that has enabled them to become resistant to corn-soybean-corn rotation. The enzymes inhibitors enables them to survive for two to three days in the soybeans fields which is enough for some of rootworms to lay eggs, when corns are planted in the same fields the rootworm larvae feeds on the corn roots.
The modern view of evolution as a change in allele frequencies defines evolution as not only the development of new species from older ones but also the small changes within species from generation to generation-over long periods. Similarly, the western corn rootworm has been able to produce special class proteinases over long period of time, these small changes have enabled them to survive on soybean fields.
Yates. D. (2012). Team discovers how western corn rootworm resists crop rotation. News Bureau, University of Illinois. Retrieved from Read More
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