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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #441667

Research Project: Genetic Insights into Leafhopper/Phytoplasma Interactions and Gene-based Immunization for Plant Disease Control

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-22430-003-043-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 2, 2022
End Date: Jul 28, 2024

The cooperator is a leading expert on the target insects, local cherry leafhoppers, and has expertise in establishing and maintaining colonies of leafhopper species. The objective is for the cooperator to collect the leafhoppers from local orchards and use these insects to establish and ultimately maintain insect colonies of these species. To our knowledge, their are no cherry leafhopper colonies currently in existence anywhere. A further objective is that these insects from the colonies will be used for pathogen-infection experiments described in the parent project; the ultimate aim of this line of experimentation is to research gene expression profiles in infected versus non-infect cherry leafhoppers. The cooperator will provide these insects to the ARS-PI.

The cooperator will collect cherry leafhopper specimen from local orchards and provide them with a suitable rearing enviroment according to the needs of the insect. This will include a suitable diet, artificial or otherwise, according to what works best, as well as suitable living quarters of whatever materials work best. No current cherry leafhopper colonies exist, to our knowledge, so the approach to establishing their colonies in a laboratory environment will be experimental, based upon what has previously been described in scientific literature several decades ago. Once thriving cherry leafhopper colonies have been established and stabilized, insects may be taken for use in X-disease pathogen infection assays. For this, a subset of cherry leafhoppers will be permitted to feed on X-disease infected plant specimen. Genetic comparisons will then be made by the ARS-PI between infected and non-infected leafhoppers.