Unlocking genome of world's worst insect pest

Jun 18, 2008

The Australian Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr, said – at the BIO 2008 International Convention in San Diego, California – that the team was expected to sequence the moth's genome in about four months.

"This will allow the collaborating scientists and a worldwide consortium of specialists to work on new ways of controlling this pest," Senator Carr said.

According to CSIRO's Group Executive for Agribusiness, Dr Joanne Daly, these include: the molecular basis of resistance to chemical and Bt insecticides and population genetics related to the refuge strategies in place to help prevent Helicoverpa from developing resistance to Bt transgenic cottons.

"This moth is resistant to nearly every class of chemical pesticide and threatens the long-term viability of transgenic crops which are reliant on the biological pesticide, Bt," Dr Daly said.

"The sequencing of the genome will greatly facilitate this research by improving the power, cost effectiveness and insights from the genetic work on this species and its American cousin H. zea," University of Melbourne Associate Professor Philip Batterham said.

Senator Carr said that finding the moth's Achilles heel was critically important to agriculture worldwide.

"The moth causes $225 million of damage a year in Australia – $5 billion globally – to crops such as cotton, legumes and vegetables," he said.

"Our scientists are already world leaders in research on the genetics and ecology of Helicoverpa and its close relatives.

"This project – led by CSIRO Entomology's Dr John Oakeshott and Associate Professor Batterham – will build on Australia's role. Working together with our partners at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and France's National Institute for Agricultural Research, the project will help establish us as leaders in organising major insect genome projects."

The project is another example of what can be achieved through collaboration between scientists and their institutions both in Australia and overseas, he said.

Source: CSIRO Australia

Explore further: Study finds color and thickness of eggshells in wild birds related to light level exposure

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

T-Mobile deal helps Rhapsody hit 2M paying subs

2 minutes ago

(AP)—Rhapsody International Inc. said Tuesday its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April.

Airbnb woos business travelers

15 minutes ago

Airbnb on Monday set out to woo business travelers to its service that lets people turn unused rooms in homes into de facto hotel space.

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

11 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

Recommended for you

Saving seeds the right way can save the world's plants

1 hour ago

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world's most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks ...

Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate

3 hours ago

Embryonic stem cells can develop into a multitude of cells types. Researchers would like to understand how to channel that development into the specific types of mature cells that make up the organs and other structures of ...

Chinese mosquitos on the Baltic Sea

3 hours ago

The analysis of the roughly 3,000 pieces is still in its infant stage. But it is already evident that the results will be of major significance. "Amazingly often, we are finding–in addition to Asian forms–the ...

User comments : 0