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'Manhattan Project' of Insects Will Sequence Bug Genomes to Help Make Better Pesticides

• Rebecca Boyle via

Plant and human genome researchers have uncovered myriad pathways toward understanding health and longevity, determining genes that code for things like disease tolerance and nutrient needs. A new bug gene-sequencing project aims to do the same — only the goal is to find genomic Achilles’ heels, to help people kill insects more easily.

Entomologists are submitting suggestions for 5,000 insects and other arthropods whose genomes should be sequenced, in a hunt for vulnerable regions that can be targeted with pesticides. The five-year 5000 Insect and Other Arthropod Genome Initiative, otherwise known as the i5K Initiative, will target insects that are known to be important to worldwide agriculture, food safety and medicine, among other impacts.

The study will examine insects that serve as disease transmitters and close relatives that do not, so researchers can compare genes that make some insects disease vectors and others benign. Certain species of mosquito, for instance, carry diseases like malaria or yellow fever, while other species do not, and understanding the genomic difference could help fight the disease-carrying types.


1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

Why don't we just make the garden/farm environment more hospitable for their predators and watch them do all the work?

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