Insect Pest Genome Shows 49 Genes from PlantsOctober 12, 2022
Researchers from the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) in France reported 49 plant genes transferred to the genome of the silver whitefly, a major crop pest in the tropics and subtropics. This is the first report of such an amount of gene transfers from plants to insects.
The researchers used bioinformatics analysis to pinpoint the genes in the whitefly genome derived from 24 independent horizontal gene transfer events. Most genes identified, such as those involved in producing enzymes that break down plant cell walls, play a known role in relationships between plants and their parasites. This may imply that the outcome of the natural selection of plant genes in insects may have enabled the whitefly to adapt to an extensive range of plant species.
The findings provide opportunities to explore the relationships between plants and insects, leading to innovative pest control techniques and less pesticide use.
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