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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

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

2007 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
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.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
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 moths ;.
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;.
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, April 2005.


3.Progress Report
None.


4.Accomplishments
New genes for lethality in fruit flies: Mass releases of sterile males are a widely used means to control pest fruit flies, but the radiation that sterilizes males often damages their sexual performance as well. Conditional-Lethality, where a male’s offspring die when certain environmental conditions prevail, is a promising substitute for traditional sterility. A new gene was generated through mutation and fixed in four separate lines of the Caribbean fruit fly. Flies carrying this gene die when temperatures exceed 30°C, so that males could be reared and released at lower temperatures, but their offspring would perish as the weather warmed. Such conditional systems could improve the efficacy of control programs that protect US agriculture from the Mediterranean fruit fly and other potentially invasive pests. Research addresses NP-304, Crop Protection and Quarantine, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component II: Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies (Microbes) and IV: Postharvest, Pest Exclusion, and Quarantine Treatment.

Application of acoustic technology as an IPM tool: Many invasive and established pests live in conditions that make them difficult to locate such as in wood or underground. New analyses of temporal patterns of feeding sounds were developed that help distinguish feeding sounds made by wood infesting beetles (Asian longhorned beetle and red palm weevil) and subterranean grubs from background noises. The capability to detect and monitor hidden infestations can direct control measures to the specific spots where pests occur strengthen quarantines, and minimize the destruction of commodities suspected of exposure to these hidden insects. Research addresses NP-304, Crop Protection and Quarantine, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component V: Pest Control Technologies.

Cotton Infested by Corn Strain fall army worm moths: There are two different strains of fall army worm with different hosts, behaviors and responses to insecticides, including Bt genes inserted into genetically modified cotton. Larvae and adult fall army worms were subjected to carbon isotope analysis and to molecular analysis of strain-specific genes. It was found that the majority of fall armyworm adults present during the early cotton season arise from corn, sorghum, etc. and that the host strain that later develops on cotton is the “corn” and not the “rice”. Knowing where multiple host-pests, like fall army worm, seasonally occur can help target proactive control measures to prevent their expansion into additional crops and direct what might be the best control technique to employ. Research addresses NP-304, Crop Protection and Quarantine, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component II: Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies.

Flower found to attract important family of natural enemies: The Braconidae are small wasps whose larvae develop in and kill many insect species, including major agricultural pests. Pest mortality might be increased if these insects could be concentrated and maintained by the presence of adult foods such as flowers. Traps baited with flowering plants found that one species in particular, alyssum, attracted several subfamilies of braconids. This flower might be advantageously planted along the margins of early season crops to suppress caterpillars. Research addresses NP-304, Crop Protection and Quarantine, and the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component II: Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies (Microbes) and III: Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions, and Ecology.


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of U.S. patents granted1
Number of web sites managed3
Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings7
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences3

Review Publications
Carroll, M.J., Schmelz, E.A., Meagher Jr, R.L., Teal, P.E. 2006. Attraction of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae to volatiles from herbivore-damaged maize seedlings. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 32:1911-1924.

Handler, A.M., Atkinson, P.W. 2006. Insect transgenesis: mechanisms, applications and ecological safety. In: Harding, S.E., editor. Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews. Vol. 23. Lavoisier/Intercept. p. 129-156.

Bossin, H., Furlong, R.B., Gillett, J.L., Bergoin, M., Shirk, P.D. 2007. Somatic transformation efficiencies and expression patterns using the JcDNV and piggyBac transposon gene vectors in insects. Insect Molecular Biology. 16:37-47.

Pereira, R., Steck, G.J., Varona, E., Sivinski, J.M. 2007. Biology and natural history of Anastrepha interrupta (Diptera: Tephritidae). Florida Entomologist. 90:389-391.

Meagher Jr, R.L., Epsky, N.D., Cherry, R. 2007. Mating behavior and female-produced pheromone use in tropical sod webworm (Lepidoptera: Crambidae).Florida Entomologist. 90:304-308.

Meagher Jr, R.L., Mislevy, P., Nagoshi, R.N. 2007. Caterpillar (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) feeding on pasture grasses in central florida. Florida Entomologist. 90:295-303.

Mankin, R.W., Hubbard, J.L., Flanders, K.L. 2007. Acoustic indicators for mapping infestation probabilities of soil invertebrates. Journal of Economic Entomology. 100:790-800.

Johnson, S.N., Crawford, J.W., Gregory, P.J., Grinev, D., Mankin, R.W., Masters, G.J., Murray, P.J., Wall, D.H., Zhang, X. 2006. Non-invasive techniques for investigating and modelling root-feeding insects in managed and natural systems. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 9:39-46.

Sivinski, J.M., Holler, T., Pereira, R., Romero, M.I. 2007. The thermal environment of immature caribbean fruit flies, Anastrepha suspensa (Diptera: Tephritidae). Florida Entomologist. 90:347-357.

Holler, T., Gillett, J.L., Sivinski, J.M., Moses, A., Mitchell, E. 2006. EFFICACY OF THE "MITCHELL STATION", A NEW BAIT-STATION FOR THE CONTROL OF THE CARIBBEAN FRUIT FLY, ANASTREPHA SUSPENSA (LOEW) (DIPTERA:TEPHRITIDAE). Hawaiian Entomological Society Proceedings. 38:111-118.

Wu, S.C., Meir, Y.J., Coates, C.J., Handler, A.M., Pelczar, P., Moisyadi, S., Kaminski, J.M. 2006. PiggyBac: A flexible and highly active transposon as compared to Sleeping Beauty, Tol2, and Mos1 in mammalian cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 103:15008-15013.

Shinohara, E.T., Kaminski, J.M., Segal, D.J., Pelczar, P., Kolhe, R., Ryan, T., Coates, C.J., Fraser, M.J., Handler, A.M., Yanagimachi, R., Moisyadi, S. 2007. Active integration: New strategies for transgenesis. Transgenic Research. 16:333-339.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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