The lettuce aphid Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosley) is a pest responsible for major damage worldwide. This aphid has the peculiarity of colonizing and feeding in the heart of the head lettuce, where it is more difficult to detect and reach with contact insecticides, once the heads are developed. The mere presence of aphids inside the heads depreciates the quality of lettuce and makes them unsaleable.
In collaboration with Ontario's Vineland Research and Innovation Center (VRIC) and Rijk Zwaan (RZ) in Holland, we are developing lettuce lines resistant to the Nasonovia aphid through introgression of the Nr resistance gene and marker assisted selection. With this method, the development of new varieties is accelerated over time. Our resistant lines will be available by 2023. Resistant varieties are a real benefit for producers: less pesticides and respect for the environment.