Hessian fly and other parasites of plants have long been a devastating problem for agriculture resulting in substantial industry losses. Current control, by way of resistance genes, are short lived and only provide resistance to certain biotype(s) (races) thus limiting the wide adaptation of cultivars with resistance to multiple pests. Recent research suggests approximately 70% of these genes are no longer effective in warding off Hessian fly, reinforcing the need for new strategies to minimize losses.
Researchers at Kansas State University have discovered a plant gene, Mds-1, as a target for manipulation by Hessian fly larvae and the powdery mildew fungus. Our unique approach obstructs the parasite’s manipulation of host plants by preventing the expression of a plant susceptibility gene at the attacking site. More specifically, transgenic plants with a construct produce double stranded RNA which then prevents the induction of this gene by the Hessian fly attack and in turn prevents the larvae’s survival. Our research shows this transgene has no apparent negative effects on other traits of transgenic plants and we expect further research to conclude broad, effective resistance against other pests.
-Durable due to it being biotype independent
-Single gene manipulation leads to resistance against multiple pests
-Potentially allows reinforcement of fly free date and earlier planting
-Control of Hessian fly and other destructive pests such as insect herbivores including: rice midge, orange blossom midge, aphids and others
-Patent protection in USA was filed in July 2013