Forty-one accessions of wild and cultivated wheats belonging to 19 Triticum species were tested in the field for resistance to three species of aphids, Rhopalosiphum padi Linnaeus, Sitobion avenae Fabricius and Schizaphis graminum Rondani. Antibiotic resistance was estimated by the increase in biomass of aphids over 21 days on adult plants. Overall resistance was estimated by the plant biomass lost due to aphid infestation. All three species of aphids survived and reproduced on all wheats, and reduced spike biomass compared to uninfested controls. The level of antibiosis varied among wheat species and among accessions, with accessions from three, five and one species showing antibiosis to R. padi, S. avenae and S. graminum, respectively. Overall resistance to the three aphid species was observed in five to seven accessions per aphid species. Resistance was usually specific to one aphid species. The frequency of accessions with antibiosis or overall resistance was associated with the ploidy level of the plant species. Except for overall resistance to R. padi, resistance was highest for diploid species and lowest for hexaploid species. No consistent relationship between resistance and level of domestication was detected. Accessions of the wild wheats, Triticum boeoticum Bois, Triticum tauschii (Coss.) Schmal. and Triticum araraticum Jakubz. exhibited high levels of resistance to aphids, as did Triticum monococcum L. which is derived from T. boeoticum. Nevertheless, individual susceptible or resistant accessions occurred at all levels within the evolutionary tree of wheat.
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