Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saving the maize crops

04.10.2004


“The results of the research we have carried out on the genome of viruses, specifically on nucleopolyhedroviruses (NPVs; Baculoviridae) will help to understand how genetic systems evolve. This discovery is of great importance when we take into account that NPVs have shown to have great insecticide potential for the control of agricultural and forestry plagues, above all for the cultivation of maize in countries such as Mexico and Honduras”. This is one of the conclusions of the PhD thesis “Functional importance of genotypic and phenotypic diversity in a Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus population” that researcher Oihane Simón De Goñi recently defended at the Public University of Navarre.

How the virus affects the plague

The nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPVs; Baculoviridae) have shown to have great insecticide potential for the control of agricultural and forestry plagues. It involves an infectious virus for insects that cause plagues, the size of which is 2 to 3 micras and which can be found, according to Ms Simón de Goñi, “contaminating a plant leaf which the insect feeds off. This virus is composed of a protein that includes the infectious viruses, known as virions. The larva, on eating the contaminated leaf, ingests the virus which, when it arrives at the digestive tract of the insect, it dissolves the protein surrounding the virions and these are released. Then the virions unite with the epithelial cells and enter the nuclei thereof where they multiply to produce new virions which then infect the cells of other internal tissues of the insect’s body. Thus, the infected cells burst (lysis) and, finally, the whole insect becomes a pool of liquid in a matter of 3 or 4 days, releasing thousands of millions of viral particles that contaminate other leaves to commence a new cycle. This is the useful insecticide action of this virus”.



Population genetics of the virus

The study was designed to resolve the question of why the deleterious genotypes - which are unable on their own to infect the insect - are maintained in the virus population. “Until now it was believed that the genotypic variants with deletions were defective and, thereby, these variants would tend to disappear with evolution. In consequence, it was believed that in order to produce good insecticides, the logical thing would be to use only those genotypes that were complete. However, on analysing the genetic sequence of this virus, characterising the genotypic variants present in this isolated sample, we have been able to show that the genetic diversity present in this virus is important for the biological activity of the virus and its potential”.

The main consequence of this is that “these variants do not disappear because they contribute to enhancing the overall set of pathogenic characteristics of the viral population. Thus, in the elaboration of insecticides, it is better to work with mixtures of genotypes, given that a much more powerful insecticide is obtained”.
The characterisation of the virus reaffirms the discovery. “There are variants that act synergically between each other and that make the activity of the virus increase. This causes certain genes to be involved in this synergic action and so the next step will be to determine which genes are involved and thus we will be able to extrapolate them to other viruses also”.

The results will be applicable to the development of bioinsecticides “that can be used in countries like Mexico and Honduras, where significant damage is incurred in maize plagues, affected by this virus”.

But moreover these results can “be extrapolated to the elaboration of other bioinsectides because the importance of the discovery of the retention of these variants lies in the fact that it can be valid for other viruses”.

The advantages of using bioinsecticides instead of chemical insecticides are many, states the research scientist, “Their high-specificity insecticide action does not contaminate the environment and are not toxic for the rest of the (beneficial) insects, plants, land and marine animals nor for humans. This means that products based on these viruses are ecologically very sound, desirable and compatible with most control agents and thereby an interesting alternative in any plague control programme”. One of the main drawbacks in marketing the product “is precisely its high specificity, together with its high production cost. Thus, it is necessary to continue researching new techniques to enable the production of a virus with a wider spectrum of potential hosts, in larger quantities and at a lower cost”.

Iñaki Casado Redin | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.unavarra.es

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>