Peaches and nectarines are frequently attacked by the green peach aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer), with significant negative impacts on fruit production. The genetic variability of resistance to this aphid among commercial cultivars of Prunus persica (L) Batsch and Prunus persica variety nectarina was evaluated in this study. In total, 16 cultivars of P. persica were selected to evaluate the occurrence and population growth rate of M. persicae in commercial orchards, as well as in no-choice and probing behavior laboratory assays. The results showed variability between cultivars in resistance and susceptibility to M. persicae, with three cultivars exhibiting different signatures of resistance. The peach cultivar ‘Elegant Lady’ exhibited a low occurrence of aphids in the orchard, a low rate of growth, moderate leaf-rejection in a no-choice test and a higher number and longer period of salivation into sieve elements, suggesting resistance at the phloematic level. The nectarine cultivar ‘August Red’ also exhibited low aphid occurrence in the orchard, a low rate of growth, and resistance at the prephloem and phloem levels. Finally, the nectarine ‘July Red-NS92’ exhibited a low occurrence of aphids in the orchard, a higher number of rejections in no-choice assays and no ingestion of phloem during the probing behavior experiments, suggesting prephloematic resistance. The rest of the cultivars studied exhibited clear susceptibility. Hence, different resistance mechanisms are apparent among the studied cultivars. The information gathered in this study regarding the resistance to M. persicae may assist breeding programs aimed at increasing aphid resistance to peaches and nectarines.
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Vol. 105 • No. 5