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RNA Interference in Insects: Protecting Beneficials and Controlling Pests

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Insects constitute the largest and most diverse group of animals on Earth with an equally diverse virome. The main antiviral immune system of these animals is the post-transcriptional gene-silencing mechanism known as RNA(i) interference. Furthermore, this process can be artificially triggered via delivery of gene-specific double-stranded RNA molecules, leading to specific endogenous gene silencing. This is called RNAi technology and has important applications in several fields. In this paper, we review RNAi mechanisms in insects as well as the potential of RNAi technology to contribute to species-specific insecticidal strategies. Regarding this aspect, we cover the range of strategies considered and investigated so far, as well as their limitations and the most promising approaches to overcome them. Additionally, we discuss patterns of viral infection, specifically persistent and acute insect viral infections. In the latter case, we focus on infections affecting economically relevant species. Within this scope, we review the use of insect-specific viruses as bio-insecticides. Last, we discuss RNAi-based strategies to protect beneficial insects from harmful viral infections and their potential practical application. As a whole, this manuscript stresses the impact of insect viruses and RNAi technology in human life, highlighting clear lines of investigation within an exciting and promising field of research.
Journal: Frontiers in Physiology
ISSN: 1664-042X
Issue: JAN
Volume: 9
Publication year:2019
BOF-publication weight:2
CSS-citation score:4
Authors from:Higher Education