regulatory mechanisms involved in critical physiological processes such as molting,
metamorphosis, diapause and apoptosis can result in the death of pest insects.
Studying some of these processes of pest insects at the molecular level will
result in identification of targets that can be used for pest management. We
plan to use whole genome sequence data from fly, mosquito and moth to identify
genes that are physiologically important. The double stranded RNA, RNA probes
and antibodies will be used to study developmental and physiological roles of
these selected genes. The sequence information can also be used to perform transcriptome,
proteome and metabalome analysis to identify new targets sites as well as to
perform toxicogenomics and pharmacogenomics that can help to elucidate the effects
of candidate pesticides on the pest ecosystem.
Most of the data
coming out of basic research can be used to develop various applications. For
example, genes that have pest control potential can be used to develop screening
assays. The functions of cloned target genes need to be validated prior to their
use. Model systems such as Drosophila melanogaster or Caenorhabdis
elegans as well as cell lines developed from insects that are economically
important can be used for this purpose. The validated target genes then can
be used to develop high through put in-vitro or in-vivo screening assays. The
validated targets can also be used to develop pest tolerant crops or trees as
well as to improve microorganisms that specifically infect insects.
Some of the insect
genes or proteins can also be used for other applications that are beneficial
to us. We plan to use ecdysone receptors cloned from different species of insects
to develop gene switches for applications in transgenic plants, gene therapy,
drug discovery, proteomics etc.