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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Research Project #430131

Research Project: Genomics-guided RNAi Solutions for Whitefly Management in Cassava and World Food Crops

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Project Number: 2038-22000-018-002-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 30, 2013
End Date: Sep 30, 2022

1. Transcriptome analysis and small RNA (sRNA) profiling to identify RNAi targets that will reduce whitefly fitness and block virus transmission. 2. RNAi construct design and efficacy evaluation in planta. 3. Comparative genomics to identify genetic factors making East African cassava-adapted whiteflies super-abundant and invasive.

1. Establishment of virus-free colonies of super-abundant/local biotypes of cassava-colonizing and non-cassava colonizing whiteflies in north-western Tanzania. 2. RNA extraction, RNA-seq and sRNA library construction and sequencing will be performed on super-abundant and non-cassava feeding whitefly from East Africa. 3. Transcriptome analysis will be used to compare gene expression between the super-abundant whitefly and the non-cassava adapted whitefly to facilitate identification of differentially expressed whitefly genes that may be responsible in improving fitness on cassava and virus transmission. 4. Genes highly expressed with low level of corresponding targeting sRNAs in the super abundant whiteflies will be identified as potential targets for RNAi, and evaluated in tomato and cassava. 5. “Pyramiding” of RNAi constructs and development and improvement of multiple delivery methods including but not limited to plant transformation. 6. Evaluation of performance of RNAi constructs. 7. Collection of male populations of super-abundant whiteflies, extraction of genomic DNA, library construction, genome sequencing, annotation, and comparison to traditional MEAM1 genome. 8. Development of a public whitefly genomics database to release information for use by te scientific community.