The cultivation of different annual crops may provide ideal conditions for feeding and survival of lepidopteran from Noctuidae family presenting generalist feeding habits. Significant losses in different crops due high adaptability observed in these insects can be reduced with molecular tools. In these organisms there is complex and diverse enzymatic composition, which makes its genomic research a challenge. Currently, Spodoptera frugiperda stands as one of the most important generalist pests, a fact attributed due the damage mainly in maize. Another highly generalist species is Helicoverpa armigera, a pest found in several regions of the world, but with a recent occurrence in Brazil. Although growth and development of these lepidopterans can be affected by the presence of plant peptidase inhibitors produced in response to herbivory, the dynamic plant-insect interaction results in ability to regulate enzymatic production, thus reducing the efficiency of such defenses. With the possibility of next generation sequencing usage for high throughput data analysis, and to develop efficient ways of pest control it is first necessary fully understanding of genes involved in the digestive process, the present project seeks to characterize the transcriptome and quantify the levels of gene expression in Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera frugiperda. Thus, from the genetic and genomic information obtained from field samples collected in maize, cotton, soybean, sorghum, millet and bean crops, we hope to contribute with useful information that may be used in integrated management as a form of pest control.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: