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      Ingested double-stranded RNAs can act as species-specific insecticides

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      Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          A serious shortcoming of many insecticides is that they can kill non-target species. To address this issue, we harnessed the sequence specificity of RNA interference (RNAi) to design orally-delivered double-stranded (ds) RNAs that selectively killed target species. Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum), pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), and tobacco hornworms (Manduca sexta) were selectively killed when fed species-specific dsRNA targeting vATPase transcripts. We also demonstrate that even closely related species can be selectively killed by feeding on dsRNAs that target the more variable regions of genes, such as the 3' untranslated regions (UTRs): four species of the genus Drosophila were selectively killed by feeding on short (<40 nt) dsRNAs that targeted the 3' UTR of the gamma-tubulin gene. For the aphid nymphs and beetle and moth larvae, dsRNA could simply be dissolved into their diets, but to induce RNAi in the drosophilid species, the dsRNAs needed to be encapsulated in liposomes to help facilitate uptake of the dsRNA. This is the first demonstration of RNAi following ingestion of dsRNA in all of the species tested, and the method offers promise of both higher throughput RNAi screens and the development of a new generation of species-specific insecticides.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
          Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
          Elsevier BV
          09651748
          November 2009
          November 2009
          : 39
          : 11
          : 824-832
          10.1016/j.ibmb.2009.09.007
          19815067
          © 2009

          https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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