Inbreeding is common in flowering plants, but relatively few studies have examined its effects on interactions between plants and other organisms, such as herbivores and pathogens. In a recent paper, we documented effects of inbreeding depression on plant volatile signaling phenotypes, including elevated constitutive volatile emissions (and consequently greater herbivore recruitment to inbred plants) but reduced emission of key herbivore-induced volatiles that attract predatory and parasitic insects to damaged plants. While the effects of inbreeding on plant-insect interactions have been explored in only a few systems, even less is known about its effects on plant-pathogen interactions. Here we report the effects of inbreeding on horsenettle susceptibility to powdery mildew (Oidium neolycopersici), including more rapid onset of infection in inbred plants, particularly when plants were not previously damaged. These data suggest that inbreeding may increase plant susceptibility to pathogen infection and, therefore, may potentially facilitate pathogen establishment in natural populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science