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      Advances in understanding insect pests affecting wheat and other cereals 

      Biotechnology for wheat crop protection: potential and challenges

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          Abstract

          Wheat is an economically important commodity because of the fundamental place it holds in human diets, and to keep up with ever rising demands crop yield must increase substantially. Wheat grain yield, however, is under constant threat by abiotic (e.g., heat, drought, pollutants) and biotic stressors (pests, pathogens, and weeds). Even though classical wheat breeding has been successful in producing pest resistant wheat varieties that express agronomically valued traits, releasing a new variety is a lengthy process, and breakdown of resistance not uncommon. For many years, integrated pest management (IPM), which includes practices like intercropping and chemical pesticide application, has been implemented alongside these resistant varieties. Increasingly, consumers view the application of chemical pesticides as less desirable being perceived as harmful to humans and the environment. Hence, this review explores the potential and limitations of the application of biotechnological tools (e.g., epibreeding, genome editing, RNA interference, nanoparticles and effectoromics) to assist with pest management that is more sustainable and complies with consumer preferences.

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