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Team nebulizes aphids to knock down gene expression

The soybean aphid is tiny, about the size of a pollen grain, but an infestation can cause soybean losses of up to 40 percent, studies reveal.

Researchers are nebulizing soybean aphids with RNA, which, when incorporated into the body, can hinder the expression of specific genes. The new method of delivering “interfering RNA” in a mist will likely speed the process of discovering the function of many mystery genes in insects, the researchers report in the journal Insect Molecular Biology.

The new technique, first tried in a separate study of honey bees using a slightly different protocol, is a vast improvement over other approaches – for example, injecting the RNA, which is quite challenging when working with a creature the size of a pollen grain, the researchers said. Understanding the function of genes is a key to developing new approaches to controlling the pest, they said.

Read the full article at the Illinois News Bureau


Publication Date: 03/31/2017
Photo credits: L. Brian Stauffer
Editor: Diana Yates