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Functional Genomics of Emerald Ash Borer: Identifying Odor Processing Genes and Gene Blocking for Alternative Pest Management

Photo of Emerald ash borer adult on a twig. USDA Forest ServiceEmerald ash borer adult on a twig. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The emerald ash borer (EAB) has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America since its discovery in 2002 and threatens the entire ash resource. Forest Service scientists sequenced identified candidate genes that function in odor processing. They also identified three RNA interference core component genes in the EAB transcriptome and demonstrated gene knockdown. Greater understanding of the function and knockdown of genes involved in odor perception, feeding, or digestion could lead to development of alternative pest management strategies.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Poland, Therese M.  
Research Location : East Lansing Michigan and Wooster Ohio
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 864


The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a serious invasive insect that has killed hundreds of millions of North American ash trees. Because adult EAB rely in part on their sense of smell to locate food and mates, Forest Service scientists and their partners are working to understand the antennal genes potentially involved in odor perception and processing. They studied candidate genes by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and found gene expression varied in male and female EAB of different developmental stages. Higher levels of certain genes in sexually mature females may indicate a perception response to host or sex-attractants. They also demonstrated RNA interference and found a significantly decreased expression of a target gene.. These understandings of gene functions and interactions of EAB can help lead to the development of alternative pest management strategies through interfering with genes involved in host location, feeding, or digestion.

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