Technological Advances to Enhance Agricultural Pest Management
Biotechnology offers new solutions to existing and future pest problems in agriculture including, for the first time, possible tools to use against insect transmitted pathogens causing plant diseases. Here, we describe the strategy first described as Autocidal Biological Control applied for the development of conditional lethal pink bollworm strains. When these strains are mass-reared, the lethal gene expression is suppressed by a tetracydine repressor element, which is activated by the presence of chlorotetracydine, a normal component of the mass-rearing diet. Once removed from the tetracydine diet, the lethal genes are passed on to offspring when ordinary lab-reared pink bollworms mate with special lethal strains. Lethality is dominant (one copy sufficient for lethality), expressed in the egg stage and affects all eggs (100% lethal expression). The initial investment by the California Cotton Pest Control Board is an outstanding example of research partnerships between agriculture industry, the USDA and land grant universities.
KeywordsHorizontal Gene Transfer Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Sterile Insect Technique Rice Stripe Virus Lethal Gene
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