Insect RNAi: Integrating a New Tool in the Crop Protection Toolkit

  • Leela Alamalakala
  • Srinivas Parimi
  • Navid Patel
  • Bharat Char


Protecting crops against insect pests is a major focus area in crop protection. Over the past two decades, biotechnological interventions, especially Bt proteins, have been successfully implemented across the world and have had major impacts on reducing chemical pesticide applications. As insects continue to adapt to insecticides, both chemical and protein-based, new methods, molecules, and modes of action are necessary to provide sustainable solutions. RNA interference (RNAi) has emerged as a significant tool to knock down or alter gene expression profiles in a species-specific manner. In the past decade, there has been intense research on RNAi applications in crop protection. This chapter looks at the current state of knowledge in the field and outlines the methodology, delivery methods, and precautions required in designing targets. Assessing the targeting of specific gene expression is also an important part of a successful RNAi strategy. The current literature on the use of RNAi in major orders of insect pests is reviewed, along with a perspective on the regulatory aspects of the approach. Risk assessment of RNAi would focus on molecular characterization, food/feed risk assessment, and environmental risk assessment. As more RNAi-based products come through regulatory systems, either via direct application or plant expression based, the impact of this approach on crop protection will become clearer.


Gene silencing RNA interference (RNAi) Insect control Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) Short interfering RNA (siRNA) Risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leela Alamalakala
    • 1
  • Srinivas Parimi
    • 1
  • Navid Patel
    • 1
  • Bharat Char
    • 1
  1. 1.Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Private LimitedJalnaIndia

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