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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY-BASED TECHNOLOGIES FOR MANAGEMENT OF CROP INSECT PESTS IN LOCAL AND AREA-WIDE PROGRAMS Project Number: 6615-22000-021-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 20, 2005
End Date: May 21, 2010

Objective:
Develop techniques and strategies that utilize molecular gene transfer methods to create transgenic strains of Diptera, Lepidoptera, and Coleoptera that will facilitate genetic-sexing or have novel autocidal properties for use in IPM programs. Identify strains of Lepidoptera pests, describe differences in behaviors, and isolate the genetic factors controlling these differences in order to understand how species adapt to new ecological niches and to better target biologically-based control strategies in area-wide IPM programs. Describe acoustic and other signals and cues produced by pest arthropods, including Mediterranean fruit fly, Diaprepes root weevil and other cryptic/hidden insects, and develop detection technologies and attractive devices that can be used in IPM projects to target, monitor and control pests. Develop strategies for effective use of parasitoids and predators in IPM of Lepidoptera and tephritid fruit fly pests, such as Mediterranean fruit fly, potentially invasive species of Anastrepha fruit flies and fall armyworm, through behavioral and ecological studies of their feeding, mating, dispersal and oviposition.Identify, isolate, and characterize biochemical factors from prey, or from cell lines derived from prey, that stimulate development, determine their physiological and molecular effects, and use these factors to improve artificial diets for mass-reared predators. 2) Measure the effects of optimal and suboptimal diets, including essential and alternative prey and artificial diets, on reproductions and predatory efficiency in laboratory and field-cage studies. Identify, isolate, and characterize biochemical factors from prey, or from cell lines derived from prey, that stimulate development, determine their physiological and molecular effects, and use these factors to improve artificial diets for mass-reared predators. Measure the effects of optimal and suboptimal diets, including essential and alternative prey and artificial diets, on reproductions and predatory efficiency in laboratory and field-cage studies.

Approach:
Emphasis will be placed on 1) Using recombinant DNA constructs inserted into the piggyBac transformation vector to genetically transform strains of the fruit flies and moth ; 2) Developing a means of generating somatic transformations to test the phenotypes and efficiencies of foreign gene constructs that lead to genetic control of pest insects; 3) Assessing the potential for vector re-mobilization in released transgenic strains and developing new vectors that allow increased stability and targeted integration for greater efficacy and ecological safety; 4) Defining the seasonal distributions of genetically distinct subpopulations of fall armyworm in order to investigate strain-specific behaviors related to plant host usage, migration, and mating; 5) Identifying hidden/cryptic pests through acoustic and microwave radar technology and precisely targeting control measures to limited areas where they will be most effective; 6) Developing economical all-female strains of fruit fly parasitoids for mass-rearing and augmentative release through sex ratio distorting microbial endosymbionts; and 7) Determining how fruit fly and moth parasitoids differ in their abilities to locate hosts at varying densities, and display different propensities to disperse from areas with relatively low host-encounter rates. BSL-1, August 2009. Research is needed to enhance biological control of insects and mites through improved methods for rearing and deploying arthropod predators. The impact of predators can be increased through discovery of essential nutritional factors from prey or hosts that increase reproductive efficiency. Following bioassay-guided isolation and characterization, these factors will be employed as additives for artificial diets. Biochemical assays of contents of these factors in prey will also allow estimates of prey quality as food for predators. Biochemical and behavioral analyses of predators will produce estimates of fitness in insectary and field. Correlations of predator fitness with species and abundance of prey in field-cages will yield knowledge of the quality of prey as food and the quality of predators introduced into cages after rearing on selected diets in the laboratory. Predatory efficiency of generalists such as Orius insidiosus, Podisus maculiventris, and Geocoris punctipes will be assessed through predation rates and selection of prey. Their reproductive potential will be assessed as egg load. General fitness of the predators will be measured through quantitative and qualitative analyses of lipids and proteins. Results will yield commercial additives for artificial diets for predators, biochemical markers for assessment of insect quality, and tools for improved management of existing and introduced populations of predators and pest populations in the field and greenhouse.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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