Genetics of the Nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Strain HP88: The Diversity of Beneficial Traits

Itamar Glazer, Randy Gaugler, Daniel Segal

Abstract


Genotypic variation among infective juveniles of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (strain HP88) in heat, desiccation, ultraviolet tolerance, and host-finding ability was assessed by comparing the performance of inbred lines of this entomopathogenic nematode in laboratory assays. Each line consisted of highly homozygous offspring originating from one individual obtained from a natural population. Considerable variation in all four traits was detected among the different inbred lines. The heritability values for heat or ultraviolet tolerance and for host-finding ability were high, indicating that selection should be an efficient way for improving these traits in the population. The results for desiccation tolerance varied considerably within each line. Heritability value was low, indicating that the results were influenced mainly by environmental variation and suggesting that selective breeding for higher desiccation tolerance would be inefficient. Improvement through induction of mutations may be a better alternative in this population. Key words: desiccation, heritability, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, host finding, inbred line, ultraviolet, variation.

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