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Wild strawberry shows genetic variation in tolerance but not resistance to a generalist herbivore

Cite this dataset

Wang, Minggang; Muola, Anne; Anderson, Peter; Stenberg, Johan (2021). Wild strawberry shows genetic variation in tolerance but not resistance to a generalist herbivore [Dataset]. Dryad.


Plants’ defenses against herbivores usually include both resistance and tolerance mechanisms. Their deployment has predominantly been studied in either single plant genotypes, or multiple genotypes exposed to single herbivores. In natural situations, however, most plants are attacked by multiple herbivores. Therefore, aims of this study were to assess and compare effects of single and multiple herbivores on plant resistance and tolerance traits, and the consequences for overall plant performance. For this, we exposed multiple genotypes of wild woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) to jasmonic acid (JA), to mimic chewing herbivory and induce the plants’ defense responses, then introduced the generalist herbivore Spodoptera littoralis to feed on them. We found that woodland strawberry consistently showed resistance to S. littoralis herbivory, with no significant genetic variation between the genotypes. By contrast, the studied genotypes showed high variation in tolerance, suggesting evolutionary potential in this trait. Prior JA application did not alter these patterns, although it induced an even higher level of resistance in all tested genotypes. The study provides novel information that may be useful for breeders seeking to exploit tolerance and resistance mechanisms to improve strawberry crops’ viability and yields, particularly when multiple herbivores pose significant threats.


The data was collected from a greenhouse experiment, in which 16 genotypes of woodland strawberry Fragaria vesca were first exposed to Jasmonic acid, followed by the feeding of leaf cotton worm Spodoptera littoralis. The proportion of damaged leaf area was estimated on individual plants to assess the resistance of these genotypes and the increase of leaf number of the plants were recorded after the damage of S. littoralis as the tolerance responses of the genotypesThe plant biomass were also measured to examine how the fitness of those F. vesca genotypes responds to the induced resistance and tolerance by Jasmonic acid and S. littoralis.

Usage notes

The data can be freely used to advance the related field as long as the current study is acknowledged.


Carl Tryggers stiftelse för vetenskaplig forskning, Award: CTS15:468

Carl Tryggers stiftelse för vetenskaplig forskning, Award: CTS18:828