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: Genetic basis of color diversity in coral reefs discovered

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Supercomputing the evolution of a model flower

1 hour ago

Scientists using supercomputers found genes sensitive to cold and drought in a plant help it survive climate change. These findings increase basic understanding of plant adaptation and can be applied to improve ...

In the face of stress, flies unite

Dec 30, 2014

Flies exposed to a stress signal when in a group adopt a more effective response than isolated insects, found researchers at UNIL and EPFL. These typically solitary dipterans interact to generate a coherent ...

Pirate viruses caught in their own trap?

Dec 02, 2014

In order to infect a host cell and proliferate, some viruses, such as the hepatitis C virus, infiltrate the ribosomes, the molecular machines that assemble the proteins present in each of our cells. Viral ...

Plant immunity comes at a price

Nov 21, 2014

Plants are under permanent attack by a multitude of pathogens. To win the battle against fungi, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, they have developed a complex and effective immune system. And just as ...

Recommended for you

A rare glimpse at the elusive saharan cheetah

9 hours ago

Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheeta ...

In a role reversal, RNAs proofread themselves

10 hours ago

Building a protein is a lot like a game of telephone: information is passed along from one messenger to another, creating the potential for errors every step of the way. There are separate, specialized enzymatic ...

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.