Maize resistance to stem borers and storage pests: The need for new genetic and functional genomics approaches in future research
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Insect pests are primary constraints in maize (Zea mays) production in many places in sub-Saharan Africa. Stem borers and storage pests are responsible for severe yield losses and health hazards due to mycotoxin contamination. Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies have moved from control methods and transgenic resistance to recognizing the necessity of host plant resistance (HPR) especially in the context of an ever changing climate and its forecasted negative consequences. For that, a wealth of scientific knowledge has been generated over the years although the goals are far to be reached. Here, we first review current literature on maize resistance mechanisms as regards to insect herbivory. We show that there are numerous insect species that feed on maize before narrowing down to stem borers and storage pests. We also look at the basis of maize resistance in terms of its biochemical components and analyze the progress of genetic studies in terms of QTL mapping and trait genes identification. Finally, we highlight the usefulness of new genetic and functional genomic approaches in underpinning the genetic basis of maize resistance to insect pests in general and particularly stem borers and storage pests.