Harnessing Chemical Ecology to Address Agricultural Pest and Pollinator Priorities Grant uri icon


  • Significant agricultural loss is caused by insect damage. One of the best methods for managing insect pests is to plant cultivars that express insect resistance genes. Transformation techniques allow introduction of new resistance genes into plants, for example Bt toxin-mediated insect resistance in crops has become a successful, widely used control measure. However, insects are occasionally observed to overcome this resistance, necessitating a continuing search for other protein toxins.We will use model and crop plants and cutting edge genomic/transcriptomic and molecular biology tools to identify candidate host plant genes likely involved plant-insect interactions and validate their functions. Such knowledge will aid development of improved pest management strategies in agriculture. In addition, if genetic engineering of crop plants for insect resistance is to become a more widely applicable tool for insect pest management in the future, we must understand how insects cope with plant defense proteins.We will design experiments aiming to understandin-depth insect physiological and biochemical systems that are vulnerable to resistance genes, and of the molecular basis of co-evolution between insects and plants. Information gained about plant-insect interaction can facilitate development of genetic engineering strategies to improve plant resistance, offering great potential benefit to U.S. agriculture.

date/time interval

  • 2020 - 2025