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Adapting a novel form of insect resistance discovered in a wild plant native to Peru, Mutschler-Chu, professor of plant breeding and genetics, first isolated the resistance. She found that it was mediated by droplets of sugar esters, called acylsugars, that are produced and exuded from hairs (trichomes) that cover the plants. The acylsugars don’t kill the insects, but deter them from feeding or laying eggs on the plants. The process does not require genetic modification and is completely safe.
After successfully transferring the resistance into new lines and breeding out undesirable traits, her team added a second layer of protection: one or both of two natural genes known to resist the so-called TOSPO viruses, which include tomato spotted wilt virus. -Seed Today
Botanists have discovered for the first time that the plants are carnivorous predators who kill insects in order to "self-fertilise" themselves. New research shows that they capture and kill small insects with sticky hairs on their stems and then absorb nutrients through their roots when the animals decay and fall to the ground. It is thought that the technique was developed in the wild in order to supplement the nutrients in poor quality soil – but even domestic varieties grown in your vegetable patch retain the ability. -The Telegraph