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The role of JAR1 in insect feeding response

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The Plant and the Insect

The plant chosen by Scott to use in this experiment was Arabidopsis thaliana. Scott had the normal (wild-type) version of this plant and a mutant version called jar1.  

Question 1: Why did Scott choose the plant Arabidopsis thaliana for use in the study?

A. It has relatively few genes—approximately 25,000.
B. It can grow to flower and produce up to 5,000 seed in just six weeks.
C. It is small in size and can be grown easily in a growth chamber.
D. All of the above.
E. None of the above.

Photo: Scott Dworak
Question 2: Above is a picture of four Arabidopsis plants that are five weeks old. They have been living in short days, which maximizes leaf growth.  Based on what you learned from Scott, which of the following is correct?

A. These plants must be wild-type plants.
B. These plants must be jar1 mutants because they are not flowering.
C. These plants must be jar1 mutants because their single-gene mutation makes them look like mutants.
D. These plants could be either wild-type plants or jar1 mutants.

Photo: Adam Hays

The insect Scott chose for his experiment was the cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni) which is an insect that feeds on many kinds of plants, including Arabidopsis. This insect is commonly used in science research and can be ordered as a ‘research supply’ by scientists such as Scott and Dr. Staswick. The cabbage loopers are hungry herbivores. Their feeding success on wild-type (normal) Arabidopsis and the jar1 mutant could thus be measured in a short-term experiment. Why did this UNL plant biology team predict that the gene altered in the jar1 mutant would have an influence on herbivore feeding?


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