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Exploring the process of host regulation for the development of RNAi strategies to control Spodoptera frugiperda

Grant number: 18/00713-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2018
Effective date (End): March 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal Investigator:Fernando Luis Cônsoli
Grantee:Eloísa Torrezan
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


RNAi technology has a great potential in applied pest control and therefore be integrated to the other control tactics in sustainable pest management strategies. The potential use of RNAi in pest management is due to its specificity, low risks to produce side-effects on non-target organisms and do not cause undesirable effects to humans and the environment. Although RNAi is a common mechanism to eukaryotes, variations in the functioning of the silencing machinery among the existing biological systems, the difficulties in selecting target genes in non-model organisms, and the different requirements for effective dsRNA delivery to organisms/target-genes, there are still a need of research to improve the choice of effective target genes, as well as ways to deliver dsRNA to target genes in several host tissues. Thus, this project aims to explore the mechanism of host regulation by parasitoids for the selection and testing of candidate genes based on the effects of their regulation to host metabolism, growth and development, as early demonstrated by our group in a study of host-parasitoid interaction. We will also evaluate different mechanisms for dsRNA delivery to control one of the most important pest to crops in Brazil, Spodoptera frugiperda. The selected target genes will be used for the design and synthesis of dsRNAs, which will be used to carry RNA interference assays. RNA interference will be evaluated at the molecular level by qPCR assays and at the biological level by comparative biological studies on the development and reproduction of S. frugiperda. We aim to demonstrate host regulation is a source of information for the selection of effective target genes and that RNAi can be successfully used for the control of S. frugiperda. (AU)

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