Biotech Updates

Plant-mediated RNAi for Tobacco Tolerance against Peach Potato Aphid

August 22, 2013

RNA interference (RNAi) is a technique used in switching off gene function. This is achieved through insertion of short sequences of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that match a portion of the target gene's sequence, and thus no protein is produced after translation. Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences researchers Jianjun Mao and Fanrong Zeng tested if plant-mediated RNAi can be used to control agricultural pests such as peach potato aphid (Myzus persicae), which targets several hosts throughout the world.

The researchers cloned the gap gene hunchback (hb) which is vital in insect axial patterning and deletion or silencing of hb is deforming and detrimental to the following insect generation. After cloning the genes, they constructed the plant RNAi vector and genetically engineered tobacco plants expressing Mphb dsRNA. The GE tobacco plant exhibited a modified integration pattern of the transgene. Bioassays were also conducted by applying neonate aphids to homozygous GE plants. Results showed that continuous feeding of GE tobacco led to reduction of Mphb mRNA level in the aphids and impeded reproduction, which implies successful destruction of the target gene in the aphid through plant-mediated RNAi.

Read the research article at