Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gene technology helps deceive greedy pest insects

Worldwide cabbage farmers have vast problems with the diamond-back moth. It lays its eggs on the cabbage plants and the voracious appetite of the larvae ruins the yield.
However, Morten Emil Møldrup from the University of Copenhagen has developed a method to deceive the greedy insects. Møldrup presents his spectacular research results at a public PhD defense on Friday 3 August.

"We have discovered a way to cheat the diamond-back moths to lay their eggs on tobacco plants. As their larvae cannot survive on tobacco leaves they will soon starve to death. In the mean time you can cultivate your cabbage at peace," explains MSc in Biology and Biotechnology Morten Emil Møldrup from DynaMo, Center for Dynamic Molecular Interactions, University of Copenhagen.

It sounds like an imaginative scenario too good to be true. None the less Morten Emil Møldrup and his colleagues from DynaMo at University of Copenhagen have shown that it is indeed possible 'to cheat' the greedy little insects in exactly this way. Morten Emil Møldrup has studied the defence compounds of the cabbage family, the so called glucosinolates, exhaustively. Glucosinolates are toxic to cabbage pests in general, the diamond-back moth being one of very few exemptions.

Away with pesticides

The odour of the cabbage defense compounds attracts the pregnant diamond-back moths. To them the 'defence odour' is a signal of an ideal place to lay their eggs. In this way they ensure their larvae plenty of food without competition from others. After having thoroughly established how a cabbage plants produces defence compounds, Morten Emil Møldrup and his colleagues have successfully transferred the genes responsible for the production of glucosinolates from cabbage into tobacco plants.

"Our experiments show that it is indeed possible to fool the diamond-back moth to lay its eggs on tobacco plants. This is fantastic because the larvae are a major problem all over the world. At present we are aiming at making glucosinolate producing potato plants. The goal is to avoid diamond-back moths’ larvae in cabbage by cultivating potato and cabbage plants together. In this way a lot of money is to be saved, and in addition the growers do not need to use the big amounts of pesticides commonly used today. In this way one may say that our discovery is also of benefit to nature," Morten Emil Møldrup tells.

Defense against attacks

Morten Emil Møldrup researches the bioactive molecules that plants are using to protect themselves against pests and how the plants produce these natural defence compounds.

Morten Emil Møldrup’s PhD thesis is comprised of six journal articles. The thesis focus on two important plant defence compounds and their biosynthetic pathways and elucidates how biotechnological use of these compounds can pave the way for future crop protection.

The PhD defence takes place Friday 3 August, 1:00 p.m., at University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1st floor, room M117, 1871 Frederiksberg C.

Morten Emil Møldrup | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>