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: Alaska frogs reach record lows in extreme temperature survival

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How Kindle Unlimited compares with Scribd, Oyster

3 hours ago

Amazon is the latest—and largest—company to offer unlimited e-books for a monthly fee. Here's how Kindle Unlimited, which Amazon announced Friday, compares with rivals Scribd and Oyster.

NASA sees powerful thunderstorms in Tropical Storm Matmo

4 hours ago

Strong thunderstorms reaching toward the top of the troposphere circled Tropical Storm Matmo's center and appeared in a band of thunderstorms on the storm's southwestern quadrant. Infrared imagery from NASA's ...

ISS 'space truck' launch postponed: Arianespace

6 hours ago

The July 24 launch of a robot ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station has been postponed "for a few days", space transport firm Arianespace said Friday.

Recommended for you

Report on viruses looks beyond disease

2 hours ago

In contrast to their negative reputation as disease causing agents, some viruses can perform crucial biological and evolutionary functions that help to shape the world we live in today, according to a new report by the American ...

User comments : 0