The genetic basis of plant-herbivore interactions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Plants and their herbivores have been interacting for ~400 million years. To understand how plant defense against herbivory evolves, it is necessary to characterize the genetic underpinnings of resistance traits, quantify genetic variation in defense trait production, and characterize how natural selection is acting on these traits. In many plant species, it is possible to identify genes that underlie defense traits, a process that was not possible only one or two decades ago. Advances in genetic technology thus allow us to test evolutionary and ecological hypotheses of plant-herbivore interactions and improve agricultural breeding for defense at increasingly precise levels. I review the state of the field of the genetic basis of plant-herbivore interactions and the evolutionary and ecological genetics of plant resistance against herbivory. I focus on resistance to herbivory in aboveground plant tissues; tolerance to herbivory and plant belowground defenses are not discussed. Studies of the genetic basis of herbivory resistance have historically been biased towards a small number of model systems and laboratory environments. More recent work has begun to encompass a greater breadth of species and natural environments, allowing a more comprehensive view of how resistance traits function and evolve in a natural ecological context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPlant-Animal Interactions
Subtitle of host publicationSource of Biodiversity
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9783030668778
ISBN (Print)9783030668761
StatePublished - May 3 2021


  • Evolution
  • Gene expression
  • Genetic variation
  • Genotype
  • Herbivory
  • QTL
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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