DNA Barcoding Insect Pests Could Facilitate Their Control

May 4, 2012

In a study by Matthew Greenstone at the Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland, DNA barcodes was used to identify effective insect predators to control the Colorado potato beetle. The insect is the most damaging insect pest of potatoes in the Eastern United States. Its control using predatory insects has been explored earlier, the present study allowed the identification of the specific predator using barcodes, by following the time required for different insects to digest their prey. Scientists sequence part of an organism's genome and produce a barcode from it.

The paper published in Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata reported how the four potato beetle predators which were collected and fed with lab-raised potato beetles were studied to determine how long the pest's barcoded DNA could be detected in the predator's guts. The results find application in possibly guiding growers on the most effective strategies for controlling the pest. Worldwide efforts in DNA barcoding of plants and animals are currently underway to catalogue the diversity of life on Earth.

See the news at http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=1261