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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IPM TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUBTROPICAL INSECT PESTS

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: Genes expressed in field-caught pink hibiscus mealybugs, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)

Authors
item Hunter, Wayne
item Dang, Phat
item Nguyen, R. - DIV. OF PLANT INDUSTRY

Submitted to: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2007
Publication Date: January 5, 2007
Citation: Hunter, W.B., Dang, P.M., Nguyen, R. 2007. Genes expressed in field-caught pink hibiscus mealybugs, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). EH211307-EH218975.

Interpretive Summary: New unique information was produced on genetics associated with the biology of the pink hibiscus mealybug (PHM) an important invasive pest. A dataset of 7,669 genetic sequences from the PHM was successfully isolated and characterized across all life stages. The newly created dataset was published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI, public database. The PHM has spread across the southern United States and is an aggressive pest species that feeds on numerous plants. The genetic information may be used to monitor populations of this pest to determine their presence and movement across the U.S. They may also be used to determine which predators feed on PHM. Determining which insect species feed on this pest could lead to better biological control strategies.

Technical Abstract: We advanced the understanding of the biology of an invasive pest, the pink hibiscus mealybug, PHM, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) by using a genomics approach to identify genes expressed within field collected PHM. The information produced provides valuable, new and unique information on mealybug biology and genomics which was unknown previously. We produced a dataset of 7,669 mRNA sequences isolated from field collected, all life stages of PHM collected from hibiscus. The PHM specific dataset was published under accession numbers: EH211307-EH218975, in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI. The PHM has spread across the southern United States and is an aggressive pest species feeding on numerous plant species. To fully understand PHM feeding and its ability to feed on a wide variety of plants, the dataset was mined for potential enzymes linked to digestion and carbohydrate usage. While mitochondrial and other transcripts were found to be useful in the production of genetic markers as tools to aid in the monitoring of PHM and its predators, it was of special interest that we identified an alpha-amylase, along with other important enzymes linked to digestion. Insects normally have several forms of alpha-amylases which are critical to the digestive process for carbohydrate metabolism, and thus insect survival. These enzymes have been shown to be good target candidates for bio-insecticides by using alpha-amylase inhibitors. Under these conditions insects cannot process carbohydrates. To evaluate if such an approach would work for the management of the PHM, it is first important to identify the enzymes and their isoforms. The PHM dataset has thus set the foundation for further evaluation of the various alpha-amylase inhibitors, and their level of impact on PHM survival. The utilization of these genetic goods and their applications to problems associated with PHM management are aiding the development of practical solutions to protect crops plants from this devastating insect pest.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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