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Using RNA interference to study patterns of expression and phenotypic effects of genes involved in reproduction in fruit flies of the group fraterculus

Grant number: 12/07892-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2012
Effective date (End): September 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Reinaldo Otávio Alvarenga Alves de Brito
Grantee:Aline Minali Nakamura
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


The majority of species in the genus Anastrepha is endemic to the Neotropics and many are of great economic importance because they inflict vast damage to several different fruit crops. This occurs not only in Brazil, where Anastrepha fraterculus and A. obliqua are major pest, but in the whole area of occurrence of the genus. Brazil, despite being one of the largest producers of fresh fruit, has low insertion in international markets because of phyto-sanitary barriers that force the improvement of control techniques. At the same time, there is a considerable demand for quality products with no pesticide residues. Thus, an alternative to insect pests control is the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), called genetic control, which reduces the pest population by mass release of sterile insects. However, sterilization by radiation, as originally proposed, has many side effects, reducing the competitiveness of release males relative to wild males. For this reason, different strategies have been used like the production of transgenic individuals not only in order to sterility but also increasing the vitality presented by these males compared to wild males. In this work, we will select three genes isolated from cDNA libraries produced in our laboratory to be silenced by the RNA interference technique in the fruit flies A. fraterculus and A. obliqua. We will look for genes that have potential to be under sexual selection, which can result in female preferences for individuals with certain attributes. Proteins of seminal fluids, spermatogenesis genes and odorant binging protein genes have been linked to reproduction isolation and mating preferences. Therefore, our choice in reproductive tissues and olfactory genes brings great potential for de identification of genes useful for the SIT strategy with affect important aspects of fitness of flies as reproductive preferences, viability of offspring and reproductive isolation.

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