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Review

Debugging: Strategies and Considerations for Efficient RNAi-Mediated Control of the Whitefly Bemisia tabaci

1
Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Vegetable laboratory, Charleston, SC 29414, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(11), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110723
Received: 14 September 2020 / Revised: 19 October 2020 / Accepted: 21 October 2020 / Published: 22 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving Whitefly Management)
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a crop pest insect that is difficult to control through commercially available methods. Technology that inhibits gene expression is a promising avenue for controlling whiteflies and other pests. While there are resources available to make this method insect specific, and therefore more effective, it is currently being used in a way that targets insects broadly. This broad approach can cause potential harm to the surrounding environment. Here, we discuss considerations for using gene-silencing technology as a pest management strategy for whiteflies in a way that is specific to this pest, which will address short- and long-term issues of sustainability. We also provide a way of selecting target genes based on their roles in the life history of the insect, which will reduce the potential for unintended negative consequences.
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a globally important pest that is difficult to control through insecticides, transgenic crops, and natural enemies. Post-transcriptional gene silencing through RNA interference (RNAi) has shown potential as a pest management strategy against B. tabaci. While genomic data and other resources are available to create highly effective customizable pest management strategies with RNAi, current applications do not capitalize on species-specific biology. This lack of specificity has the potential to have substantial ecological impacts. Here, we discuss both short- and long-term considerations for sustainable RNAi pest management strategies for B. tabaci, focusing on the need for species specificity incorporating both life history and population genetic considerations. We provide a conceptual framework for selecting sublethal target genes based on their involvement in physiological pathways, which has the greatest potential to ameliorate unintended negative consequences. We suggest that these considerations allow an integrated pest management approach, with fewer negative ecological impacts and reduced likelihood of the evolution of resistant populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: whitefly; Bemisia tabaci; RNAi; RNA interference; integrated pest management whitefly; Bemisia tabaci; RNAi; RNA interference; integrated pest management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shelby, E.A.; Moss, J.B.; Andreason, S.A.; Simmons, A.M.; Moore, A.J.; Moore, P.J. Debugging: Strategies and Considerations for Efficient RNAi-Mediated Control of the Whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Insects 2020, 11, 723. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110723

AMA Style

Shelby EA, Moss JB, Andreason SA, Simmons AM, Moore AJ, Moore PJ. Debugging: Strategies and Considerations for Efficient RNAi-Mediated Control of the Whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Insects. 2020; 11(11):723. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110723

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shelby, Emily A., Jeanette B. Moss, Sharon A. Andreason, Alvin M. Simmons, Allen J. Moore, and Patricia J. Moore 2020. "Debugging: Strategies and Considerations for Efficient RNAi-Mediated Control of the Whitefly Bemisia tabaci" Insects 11, no. 11: 723. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110723

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