1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Molecular-based research identifying protein and RNAi molecules that have insect deterrent activity when ingested by the insect pests (Asian citrus psyllid Diaprepes, root weevil and Whitefly) of citrus.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Use of insect bioassays and development of transgenic plants to study the activity of protein and RNAi molecules against pest insects of agriculture. Specific methods include dsRNA and peptide synthesis, mRNA and protein characterization insect feeding bioassays and development of transgenic plants.
3. Progress Report
This project is related to inhouse objective 3b: Develop novel control methods based on disrupting key processes in pest biology. Experiments have shown that oral uptake of double stranded Ribonucleic acids (dsRNA) can be toxic to the Asian citrus psyllid. This toxicity is increased when this dsRNA is identical to a psyllid gene that functions in some critical metabolic process within the psyllid. These results demonstrate that dsRNA may be deployable in a psyllid control strategy providing a highly psyllid specific control strategy with no collateral damage to other beneficial organisms. Progress was monitored via biweekly research meetings involving listed collaborators and laboratory personnel. These meeting were alternately located at the collaborator laboratory and the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory (USHRL).