Gene silencing could be the future of pesticides

What if a can of Raid sprayed RNA instead of poison? Well, researchers at the University of Florida have developed a “genetic pesticide” for termites that uses RNA interference to specifically silence genes specific to the target termite species.

With rising concerns about side effects of the often neurotoxin-like chemicals used in conventional pesticides (such as recent concerns about potential links to Alzheimer’s), researchers have been under increased pressure to develop alternative pest-control methods. The UF development is the first demonstration of such a free-standing pesticide–which many herald as the future of the industry because of researchers’ claims that the gene-silencing can be specifically formulated for the target pest, without affecting other species.

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Have a question? Let us know.


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