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Aphids attack inbred plants

In a paper just published in PLoS ONE, Echinacea Project researchers show how habitat fragmentation may make plants more susceptible to aphid attacks. Aphid abundance early in the season is higher on inbred and outcrossed Echinacea angustifolia plants compared to regular plants. Elemental stoichiometry plays a role in this plant-herbivore interaction, but other genetically-based plant traits must also attract or encourage aphids.

Ridley CE, Hangelbroek HH, Wagenius S, Stanton-Geddes J, Shaw RG, 2011 The effect of plant inbreeding and stoichiometry on interactions with herbivores in nature: Echinacea angustifolia and its specialist aphid. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24762. Available online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0024762.

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