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Gene Disruption Technologies Have the Potential to Transform Stored Product Insect Pest Control

Perkin, Lindsey C., Adrianos, Sherry L., Oppert, Brenda
Insects 2016 v.7 no.3
RNA interference, Tribolium castaneum, animals, control methods, double-stranded RNA, food contamination, fumigants, gene expression, gene targeting, genetic engineering, grains, models, nutritive value, pest control, pesticide resistance, pesticides, phosphine, storage insects, toxicity
Stored product insects feed on grains and processed commodities manufactured from grain post-harvest, reducing the nutritional value and contaminating food. Currently, the main defense against stored product insect pests is the pesticide fumigant phosphine. Phosphine is highly toxic to all animals, but is the most effective and economical control method, and thus is used extensively worldwide. However, many insect populations have become resistant to phosphine, in some cases to very high levels. New, environmentally benign and more effective control strategies are needed for stored product pests. RNA interference (RNAi) may overcome pesticide resistance by targeting the expression of genes that contribute to resistance in insects. Most data on RNAi in stored product insects is from the coleopteran genetic model, Tribolium castaneum, since it has a strong RNAi response via injection of double stranded RNA (dsRNA) in any life stage. Additionally, Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) technology has been suggested as a potential resource for new pest control strategies. In this review we discuss background information on both gene disruption technologies and summarize the advances made in terms of molecular pest management in stored product insects, mainly T. castaneum, as well as complications and future needs.