How Genetic Engineering is Used in Pest Control

Genetic engineering is a tool for reducing pest populations by introducing traits that suppress or reduce the numerical size of a target population. 

pest control

These traits may include reduced fitness, reduced vector competence, and decreased transmission of one or more pathogens. 

In pest control, a novel genetic trait called lethality can be used to target adult female mosquitoes. Adult females are harmful because they bite and transmit disease. 

Juvenile pest insects are not as dangerous because they do not bite, but they do cause a great deal of damage to crops and other plants.

Reduced Fitness Traits Aim To Reduce The Numerical Size Of The Target Population

A genetically engineered pest may have reduced fitness traits or have other features that decrease its fitness. 

These traits can reduce the number of individuals in a population. In the case of a pest that can be eradicated by extermination, the numerical size of the target population must be reduced to a minimum. 

The goal is to create a small target population with the lowest escape probability. In order to do this, the target population must be isolated from other populations by a large distance. If the target species is non-marine, the distance can be larger. 

However, the exact distance needed to control a target population will depend on the ecological characteristics of the pest. The distance must also be large enough to minimize the possibility of human-mediated dispersal.

Genetic engineering in pest control is often used to control pest populations. In a pest management program, several tools are used. However, some pest management tools can prove ineffective or costly. 

There is no single solution to control invasive species and limit the harm that they can cause. The OECD Co-operative Research Programme for Sustainable Agricultural Systems has sponsored the Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species Workshop. 

This funding has allowed most of the authors to participate. However, some authors have received travel support from the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research Secretariat.

Reducing the numerical size of the target population is an important goal of genetic engineering in pest control. In general, using GPM techniques to reduce the size of pest populations can be successful if it takes advantage of the inherent genetic diversity of populations. 

Genetic engineering for vector control can also harness genetic heterogeneity within the population to reduce the number of vectors while at the same time decreasing the transmission of pathogens. The approach has been termed “genetic shifting” and has a few key advantages.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a good candidate for genetic engineering. It is a vector of human diseases. In the release program, males containing a dominant lethal gene (RIDL) were used to reduce the size of the target population.

The program was successful up to a point but began to lose effectiveness after only 18 months. Its effectiveness was further reduced by the increase of adult female populations.

Effects Of Resistance Dilution And Suppression On Pest Populations

Resistance dilution and suppression can have opposite effects on pest populations. 

The former occurs when resistance spreads widely and, consequently, reduces the number of susceptible individuals. The latter occurs when resistance is moderately effective and costs are high. The latter is less effective and leads to weaker suppression of the target population.

Resistance dilution and suppression aim to reduce the pest population through the use of pesticides. 

Generally, recommended practices involve tank mixing and alternate use of pesticides with different chemistry and modes of action. It is based on the theory that resistance develops when an individual is exposed to more than one pesticide.

The emergence of resistance reduces selection for the targeted deme. The rate of migration of the L allele increases with the presence of more resistance. 

This effect limits the spread of the target deme. It also limits the upshifting of the target deme. This is why it is so crucial to understand the role of resistance dilution and suppression in pest control. 

Once you understand the role of both strategies, you can better decide which is most effective for your pest control program.

The effectiveness of resistance dilution and suppression is highly dependent on the size and structure of the target population. It can also involve spatial dynamics. 

The size of the non-target population may play an important role in the effects of resistance dilution and suppression on the target population.

In the nontarget deme, the R allele frequency is higher than the target deme. It reaches a higher equilibrium frequency in the nontarget deme than the target deme. For the majority of combination parameters, resistance dilution and suppression are mutually beneficial.

Regulation Of Genetically Engineered Plants

Regulation of genetically engineered plants in pesticide production requires a thorough evaluation of plant pest risks, and the new provision would exempt GE plants that have certain MOA (mechanism of action) combinations. 

These combinations vary in the amount of resistance to plant pests and diseases.

APHIS intends to use this criterion for non-plant GE organisms, like non pathogenic soil bacteria. The regulatory process is complex and must consider the specific risk to nontarget organisms. 

This is particularly important because some GE organisms may have the potential to cause disease in other organisms.

APHIS has conducted extensive outreach to stakeholders. It has met with more than 80 organizations, 17 universities, and farmer groups. In these meetings, they discussed the need to focus regulatory efforts on risk and method of development. 

Moreover, these stakeholders recommended flexible regulatory processes. The new regulation should address these concerns and support further innovation.

The introduction of GE organisms could cause serious pest and disease problems. They may also have nontarget effects and affect beneficial organisms. 

Furthermore, GE plants may become weedy and may even increase weediness in their host species. In addition, the introduced trait could be passed on to other organisms.

The APHIS regulation on GE plants largely depends on the definition of a regulated article. Generally speaking, GE organisms are regulated if they pose a threat to plant pests. Different approaches to expressing the basic standard have led to different APHIS decisions.

Regulation of genetically engineered plants in pest-control is a difficult task. Because the process of creating genetically engineered plants is highly complex, new types of risks can emerge. 

Therefore, it’s important to make sure the new regulations have the required safeguards. The APHIS must establish standards before allowing any new organism to be introduced into the environment.

Current regulatory processes have many functions. One of these functions is to ensure that certain GE organisms are not introduced into the environment without proper authorization. 

They do this by issuing notifications and permits. In addition, APHIS is responsible for approving importation and interstate movement of GE organisms.