Crop Biotech Update

Towards the Biological Control of Diamondback Moth

September 15, 2011

The diamondback moth Plutella xylostella is one of the world's destructive crop pests. Around $1 billion per year is spent on chemical and biological pesticide for its control. Fortunately, a parasitic wasp Diadegma semiclausum was found to be an important biological control of the moth. "The wasp injects its eggs into the moth's larva, then manipulate the hosts' physiology in favour of their developing larvae by introducing secretions that contain symbiotic viruses, such as polydnavirus. Polydnaviruses suppress the hosts' immune system and stall metabolism and development," Dr. Sassan Asgari, the lead researcher said.

In a paper published in the open access journal BMC Genomics, the team of scientists from the University of Queensland led by Dr. Asgari have identified the genes expressed when the moth is attacked by this wasp. Using an RNA deep sequencing technique called Illumina, they were able to identify the symbiotic PDV genes expressed in the host and compared their sequences with other reported viruses.

Identification of these genes may lead to measures that will allow the control of the moth and possible manipulation of host-parasite interactions.

See the original article at http://www.uq.edu.au/news/index.html?article=23812