Agri Businesses – Still an Opportunity Worth Exploring ! Their research team aphid forex inform industry and research programmes to support pest control and aid global food security.
Unlike most plant-colonising insects, which have adapted to live on a small range of closely related plants, green peach aphids can colonise over four hundred plant species. Developing resistance to over 70 different pesticides, coupled with the ever changing climate affecting crop losses in the EU and UK, the pest wreaks havoc on crop yields. The green peach aphid transmits over a hundred different plant viruses and the notorious insect feeds on essential crops such as oilseed rape, sugar beet, tomato and potato, as well as wild plant species, which may serve as sources of the plant viruses. Generally, insect parasites that live on a certain plant species are genetically adapted to one plant variety alone. Our study has shed light on the genetic plasticity that allows the green peach aphid to survive so well on a multitude of plant species, giving us a greater insight into the survival strategies of one of the most challenging of crop pests. This allows biologists to compare individual aphids with the same genetic background and see precisely what genes are more active than others in aphids living on different plant species.
As part of their research, the team grew aphid clones on three different species of plant. This enabled them to find the specific genes that were involved in colonising each different host plant. It appears that the genes responsible for helping aphids adjust to different plants are found in clusters within the genome and are rapidly increased or decreased in two days of transfer to a new host plant species. The genes rapidly turn up or down in single aphids in just two days upon transfer to a new host plant.