New tech fights fall armyworm by letting offspring die

V. Ouma,  Sci Dev Net,  2022.

Scientists have developed a new technology that could control the devastating fall armyworm crop pest by releasing genetically-controlled males that suppress populations as subsequent offspring cannot survive, a study says. The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, which was detected in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in 2016, could lead to one-third maize yield losses in some countries and up to US$6.3 billion loss annually, according to the study published in the journal BMC Biotechnology. The gene technology developed by Oxitec, a UK-based biotechnology company that genetically modifies insects to assist in insect control, enables production of male-only cohorts of the friendly fall armyworm that when released into farmer fields will mate with pest female fall armyworms, and their female offspring cannot survive, resulting in fewer pests on the crops and therefore less damage

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