Beet armyworm: Gene editing stops female moths from producing pheromones

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Female beet armyworms with a deleted gene don’t produce sex pheromones, which could be exploited as a way to control numbers of this agricultural pest

Life



11 December 2021

The beet armyworm is a destructive crop pest

Nigel Cattlin / naturepl.com

Deleting a gene linked to the production of sex pheromones in the beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) causes females to lose their attractiveness to males, offering a new potential route to control the species, considered one of the world’s worst agricultural pests.

Shabbir Ahmed at Andong National University in South Korea and his colleagues used the CRISPR genome-editing technology to delete the gene SexiDES5 in caterpillars of the moth, which feed on a wide range of crops such as vegetables, cotton and flowers. …

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