Acta Entomologica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (4): 506-515.doi: 10.16380/j.kcxb.2019.04.012

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Application of RNAi in insect pest management: important progress and problems 

HU Shao-Ru1,2, GUAN Ruo-Bing1, LI Hai-Chao1, MIAO Xue-Xia1,*   

  1.  (1. Key Laboratory of Insect Developmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China; 2. University of ChineseAcademyof Sciences,Beijing100049,China)
  • Online:2019-04-20 Published:2019-04-08

Abstract: RNAi is regarded as a green pest control strategy most likely to be applied in insect pest control. In June 2017, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the first transgenic insect-resistant maize MON87411 expressing insect double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) in the world, and this brought a new upsurge of research of using RNAi technology in insect pest management. However, there are still some problems to be addressed in the application of RNAi technology in pest control, e.g., screening and application strategies of effective target genes, the sensitivity of lepidopteran insects to RNAi, the stability of dsRNA in environment, etc. In this article, we summarized the research and application of RNAi technology in relation to pest control over the past two decades. We also reviewed the feasibility, application methods, existing problems and some current solutions of RNAi technology. We found that the degradation of dsRNA in the midgut or hemolymph of some lepidopteran insects may be the primary reason of the low RNAi efficiency through a comprehensive analysis of recent research results. Through dsRNA modification or embedding by liposome or nanoparticle, it is possible to solve the problem of dsRNA degradation to a certain extent, thus improving the RNAi efficiency.

Key words: RNAi, pest control, gene function, dsRNA, liposome, nanoparticle