Plants Use RNA Interference in Defense Against Pests

    Plants Use RNA Interference in Defense Against Pests

    crops in the fieldResearchers are weaponizing a plant's ability to "turn off" select genes, a process known as RNA interference. This ability allows the plants to negate the production of proteins. By having plants ingest RNA fragments that will induce this "shutting off" effect in insect RNA, the insects will genetically shut down and become sterile, or die. This form of pest-control is becoming a more appealing avenue rather than pesticides, which have health concerns for humans and the environment. There is also virtually no cost, after the RNA fragments are initially synthesized. Another advantage is that these are species-specific, they won't unintentionally harm other non-problematic insects. 

    Although this form of pest-control faces a couple obstacles in becoming part of the commercially-produced arsenal, such as being able to produce RNA fragments for cereal grains, and how to protect the fragments from being degraded by caterpillars, this route is very promising. It will hopefully be available in 6-7 years. Read more about this exciting and new discovery at Science Daily

    Published on: Jul 31, 2017

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