Biotech Updates

Identifying Disease-Carrying Aphids Reduces Insecticide Use

April 4, 2012

To cut back on insecticide use, scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have found a way to tell apart aphids that spread diseases and those that do not. Aphid-transmitted viruses decrease crop yields and reduce the quality of fresh foods.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Michelle Cilia and Stewart Gray have found that they can identify disease-carrying aphids through the types of proteins in their cells. The researchers used protein biomarkers to distinguish between virus-spreading and virus-free aphids. The findings of the research will be used to develop a test that will identify potential disease vectors.

Read more about this research at