Gene silencing may shorten insect lifespan

Feb 12, 2008

U.S. entomologists have discovered interfering with the salivary glands of insects might result in a shortened life span.

The Kansas State University scientists said their findings might lead to an understanding of how to breed pest resistance into important food crops.

The researchers found that by using technology to silence a gene in the salivary glands of pea aphids, the insect's lifespan was cut by more than 50 percent.

"What we found is that when we silenced the most abundant transcript (gene), the aphids died in a few days," said entomology Professor John Reese.

He said the findings could lead to new ways to control insects in crops such as wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, corn and sorghum. And that, in turn, might lead to a lesser agricultural dependence on pesticides, as well as helping the environment and lowering growers' input costs.

"If we can figure out how to get a plant to prevent the functioning of an insect pest's gene, we can turn that plant into a non-host for that pest," Reese said.

The study, which involved Assistant Professor Yoonseong Park and former graduate student Navdeep Mutti, appeared in the Journal of Insect Science.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Blacklegged tick populations have expanded via migration, biologists show

Related Stories

Researchers discover how petunias know when to smell good

Jun 29, 2015

Good timing is a matter of skill. You would certainly dress up for an afternoon business meeting, but not an evening session of binge-watching Netflix. If you were just a few hours off in your wardrobe timing, ...

Vagrant bachelors could save rare bird

Jun 16, 2015

A study conducted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has revealed the importance of single males in small, threatened populations. Results from a study of endangered New Zealand hihi birds (Notiomystis ci ...

From worker to queen at the drop of a gene

May 26, 2015

Biologists from the University of Leicester have discovered that one of nature's most important pollinators - the buff-tailed bumblebee – either ascends to the status of queen or remains a lowly worker ...

Recommended for you

Investigators insert large DNA sequence into mammalian cells

10 hours ago

For the first time, researchers have used a simplified technique derived from a defense mechanism evolved by bacteria and other single-celled organisms to successfully insert a large DNA sequence into a predetermined genomic ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.