CRISPR, an eco-friendly technology, may detect crop pests

W. Adam,  list23,  2022.

Drosophila suzukii, an invading insect pest, is a threat to agricultural yields, especially to the production of fruits such as strawberries, cherries, plums, and grapes in western countries. Until now, control measures to stop the spread of D. suzukii have been inadequate. A research published in GEN Biotechnology (Precision Guided Sterile Males Suppress Populations of an Invasive Crop Pest) describes the development of a programmable CRISPR-based technique that might, if implemented at large in the wild, eliminate fertile male D. suzukii, effectively, specifically, and safely controlling this pest population. The team at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) implemented a temperature-inducible, precision-guided, sterile insect technique (pgSIT), described by the team in an earlier investigation, to breed infertile but fit D. suzukii males with modest shorter lifespans. Through empirical experimentation and mathematical modeling, the researchers demonstrated that repeated release of sterilized males can rapidly and successfully eliminate D. suzukii populations.

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