Role of RNA-interference in Crop Pests and Disease Vector Control
Insect pests are a threat to meeting food demands of the ever-increasing human population. They are also the cause of many vector borne diseases in humans leading to countless deaths. Present insect pest control strategies including chemical pesticides, developing transgenic plants and organic certified chemical pesticides have numerous limitations in terms of their effectiveness and target specificity. However, genetic method that makes use of the sequence specificity of RNA interference (RNAi) has great potential in controlling pest insect populations. RNAi is a naturally occurring conserved process responsible for protection against viral pathogens. Efficiency of RNAi is variable among different pest insects. It is dependent on method of double stranded RNA (dsRNA) delivery, gene selection techniques, dsRNA expression and presence of off-target effects. Moreover, environmental risks involved in use of RNAi based insecticides in natural crop field scenario is debatable. Despite the challenges faced, RNAi mediated gene knockout of different pest insect genes has potential usefulness in controlling pest insect growth and survival.
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