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Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Publication details for Prof Keith Lindsey

Luo, J., Liang, S., Li, J., Xu, Z., Li, L., Zhu, B., Li, Z., Lei, C., Lindsey, K., Chen, L., Jin, S. & Zhang, X. (2017). A transgenic strategy for controlling plant bugs (Adelphocoris suturalis) through expression of double-stranded RNA homologous to fatty acyl-coenzyme A reductase in cotton. New Phytologist 215(3): 1173-1185.

Author(s) from Durham


Plant bugs (Miridae species), which are sap-sucking insects, have emerged as major pests of cotton in China. Most Miridae species are not sensitive to commercial Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton, resulting in significant economic losses and an increased application of insecticide, which eventually may compromise the future of Bt cotton.
We demonstrate that FATTY ACYL-COA REDUCTASE (AsFAR) plays an essential role in the reproduction of the bug Adelphocoris suturalis. Down-regulation of AsFAR expression by injection of double-stranded RNA suppresses ovarian development and female fertility, resulting in females producing few viable offspring.
To determine the viability of an RNA interference approach to limit FAR expression and reproductive ability in A. suturalis, a dsRNA targeting the AsFAR gene (dsAsFAR) of A. suturalis was expressed in transgenic cotton plants. AsFAR transcription levels were significantly downregulated in A. suturalis feeding on the transgenic plants. In contained field trials, the transgenic cotton lines significantly suppressed the development of A. suturalis populations and were resistant to damage caused by plant bug infestation.
These results suggest a new strategy for the management of plant bug pests of cotton.