Biotech Updates

Protein Essential for Eggshell Formation Eyed as Pesticide Target

May 30, 2008

A recent discovery on the development of fruit fly may help scientists develop new and more effective pesticides. A team of scientists, led by Ellen LeMosy, from the Medical College of Georgia identified a gene that when disrupted, results to malformed eggs. The gene is necessary for the formation of vitelline bodies, protein balls that form insect eggs’ first line of defense. These bodies also help keep the eggs from drying out.

The gene could prove a great target for pesticides, which today are largely neurotoxins, because humans don't have it. Genetic pesticides that target the expression of the gene, however, must first be studied since it is likely to affect “good” insects such as ladybugs and praying mantis that have a big appetite for other insects.

Read more at The paper published by Developmental Biology is available to subscribers at