Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

The Emergence of New Crop Pests: Genetics in Action

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists discover the genetic mechanisms that allow aphids to adapt to a new host plant and provide natural resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides.

Insect host shifts are important because they may be a first step in the evolution of new species and can create new pests of agriculturally important crops. A barrier to many potential insect host shifts are the secondary metabolites or allelochemicals many plants produce in order to defend themselves from plant feeding (herbivorous) pests like aphids. Consequently, insect pests can only be successful in using such plant species as food if they develop mechanisms to overcome sensitivity to the defense compounds that a plant is releasing.

Identifying the initial genetic changes involved in this process has proved elusive. Rothamsted Research scientists, who receive strategic funding from the BBSRC, in collaboration with researchers from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Bayer CropScience AG in Germany, have characterised novel genetic changes that underlie an insect host shift and the emergence of a new subspecies of crop pest with natural resistant to pesticides. The study is published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The peach potato aphid (Myzus persicae) is a major crop pest, one of the most common greenfly pests within the UK and globally. It can cause substantial crop yield losses through the transmission of up to 120 distinct plant viruses and/or directly through feeding and sucking the sap of plants. A subspecies of peach potato aphid (Myzus percicae nicotianae) has evolved to feed and survive on tobacco plants. Aphids of this subspecies show reduced sensitivity to the secondary metabolite nicotine, which is a potent natural insecticide produced by tobacco. Interestingly, these aphids also show reduced sensitivity to neonicotinoids a class of synthetic insecticides. This study aimed to identify how aphids manage to overcome the toxic effects of the tobacco-produced nicotine and understand how this relates to resistance to neonicotinoids.

Dr Chris Bass of Rothamsted Research, who is funded by a fellowship from the BBSRC, and led the study said: "We are excited that for the first time we have been able to characterise the genetic mutations involved in the initial steps of the host shift of the peach potato aphid to tobacco. We found that a detoxification enzyme called CYP6CY3, which is naturally present in all aphids, is responsible for the metabolism of nicotine to less toxic compounds. However, for this process to occur at significant levels that allow survival of aphids that feed on tobacco plants the gene producing this enzyme needs to be present in many more copies than the normal two copies, up to 100 copies in the most resistant aphids.

"In addition to the gene amplification we have also been able to show that changes in the part of the gene that gives information as to when and where the enzyme should be made (i.e. the regulatory region of CYP6CY3) contribute to the overexpression of the gene. Together these two mechanisms work in concert to produce high levels of the enzyme which breakdowns nicotine and has also pre-adapted tobacco-adapted races to resist man-made insecticides".

Professor Lin Field of Rothamsted Research said: "The findings of this study are very exciting because they provide novel insights into the fundamental evolutionary processes that have driven adaptation in an aphid and similar mechanisms may be employed by other insect species. Additionally, we now have further understanding of the molecular mechanisms that can drive insecticide resistance and this can be utilised when developing pest management strategies."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Genome-Editing Position Statement
A group of leading UK research organisations has today issued an initial joint statement in support of the continued use of CRISPR-Cas9 and other genome-editing techniques in preclinical research.
Monday, September 07, 2015
Expanding the DNA Alphabet: 'Extra' DNA Base Found to be Stable in Mammals
A rare DNA base, previously thought to be a temporary modification, has been shown to be stable in mammalian DNA, suggesting that it plays a key role in cellular function.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Global Food Security (GFS) Develops New Funding Programme
New programme of research to tackle resilience of the food system.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
£4M to Fund Important Food Crops from BBSRC and NERC
Research projects designed with industry partners to maximize impact.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Controlling Leaf Blotch Disease In Wheat
Scientists have found a genetic mechanism that could stop the spread of a "devastating" disease threatening wheat crops.
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Rising Temperatures Predicted to Lower Wheat Yields
An international consortium of researchers has used big data sets to predict the effects climate change on global wheat yields.
Friday, December 26, 2014
New Test For Detecting Horse Meat
New test compares differences in chemical compositions of the fat found in meats.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
UK And India Collaborate On Future-Proof Crops
Drought-tolerant tomatoes, improved wheat and grass pea could provide crops for the future.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Drugs Used to Treat Lung Disease Work With the Body Clock
Scientists from The University of Manchester have discovered why medication to treat asthma and pneumonia can become ineffective.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Researchers Use ‘Big Data’ Approach to Map the Relationships Between Human and Animal Diseases
EID2 database used to prevent and tackle disease outbreaks around the globe.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
TGAC at the Forefront of Next Generation Sequencing Capability
The Genome Analysis Centre adds two Illumina HiSeq 2500 machines to its platform suite.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
UK Diet and Health Research Awarded £4M
Funding awarded to six projects investigating diet and health to enable the food and drink industry to meet the needs of UK consumers.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Better Understanding of Disease Resistance Genes in Crops
Effector-triggered defence concept describes how plants protect themselves against the apoplast.
Friday, June 06, 2014
Investment Provides Access to the World’s Most Advanced Crystallography Technology
The UK community will benefit thanks to a £5.64M investment from UK research funders.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Public-private Research Partnership to Support Sustainable Agricultural Systems
The partnership will support projects that will help provide solutions to key challenges affecting the sustainability of the UK crop and livestock sectors.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Scientific News
Retractable Protein Nanoneedles
The ability to control the transfer of molecules through cellular membranes is an important function in synthetic biology; a new study from researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard Medical School (HMS) introduces a novel mechanical method for controlling release of molecules inside cells.
Leukemia’s Surroundings Key to its Growth
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a type of cancer found primarily in children can grow only when signaled to do so by other nearby cells that are noncancerous.
Common Cell Transformed into Master Heart Cell
By genetically reprogramming the most common type of cell in mammalian connective tissue, researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison have generated master heart cells — primitive progenitors that form the developing heart.
‘Smelling’ Prostate Cancer
A research team from the University of Liverpool and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has reached an important milestone towards creating a urine diagnostic test for prostate cancer that could mean that invasive diagnostic procedures that men currently undergo eventually become a thing of the past.
Genetic Mutation that Prevents Diabetes Complications
The most significant complications of diabetes include diabetic retinal disease, or retinopathy, and diabetic kidney disease, or nephropathy. Both involve damaged capillaries.
A Crystal Clear View of Biomolecules
Fundamental discovery triggers paradigm shift in crystallography.
Could the Food we Eat Affect Our Genes?
Almost all of our genes may be influenced by the food we eat, according to new research.
NIH Seeks Research Applications to Study Zika in Pregnancy, Developing Fetus
Institute has announced that the new effort seeks to understand virus effect on reproduction and child development.
Iron in the Blood Could Cause Cell Damage
Concentrations of iron similar to those delivered through standard treatments can trigger DNA damage within 10 minutes, when given to cells in the laboratory.
Neanderthal DNA Influences Human Disease Risk
Large-scale, evolutionary analysis compares genetic data alongside electronic health records.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!