W059 Psyllid Genomics Advancing RNAi Strategies in Pest Management

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Time: 10:40 AM
Room: Sunrise
Wayne Hunter , USDA-ARS, Fort Pierce, FL
Blake Bextine , University of Texas, Tyler, Tyuler, TX
Genomic information in pest management today is invaluable.  The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri is the vector of bacteria associated with the citrus disease, huanglongbing.  As an invasive insect, the psyllid’s genome (~470Mb) provides a valuable resource for development of new management tools.  The transcriptome, and EST's, from the adults, nymphs, and eggs also provide valuable information of psyllid life stage specific genes, with a total prediction close to 25,000.  Emerging strategies in insect management center on genomics.  Therefore, to meet industry needs for new methods of psyllid management, which are highly specific to psyllids, an international psyllid genome consortium IPGC, was established in 2009 (W.Hunter, ARS).  Completion of this genome and the associated datasets are being applied toward development of RNAi approaches.  RNAi and gene expression studies have included areas on immunity, toxicology, and responses to environmental conditions ie. temperature.  As the research community begins to explore applications of genomic data to reducing psyllid pests, advances in functional genomics is also demonstrating the importance of microbe- psyllid interactions associated with psyllid survival, and pathogen spread.  Thus, the establishment of an international genomics approach has opened broad collaborations to advance development of long-term management strategies against D. citri to reduce or prevent the spread of huanglongbing.