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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Prove CRISPR's Potential As Control for Queensland Fruit Fly

March 28, 2018

The Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) is a polyphagous horticultural pest in Australia capable of causing significant damage to different fruits and vegetables. Chemical applications and ecological control strategies, such as the sterile insect technique (SIT), are commonly used to control the population of this insect pest and prevent invasive outbreaks.

The recently published B. tryoni draft genome provides new opportunities to identify candidate genes for targeted genome modification to develop advanced strains for management using sterile insect strategies. To test its applicability, Amanda Choo and her colleagues used CRISPR-Cas‐mediated mutagenesis on Queensland fruit fly. They were successful in generating mutations in the ATP‐dependent binding cassette transporter gene, white, resulting in fruit flies with a white-eye phenotype.

This study demonstrates CRISPR's potential for developing genetic strains which could be used for SIT‐based pest control.

For more information, read the article in Journal of Applied Entomology.