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.
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?