Scientists have used a programmable CRISPR-based method called pgSIT to generate sterile but competitive males of the species Drosophila suzukii that poses a threat to food crops in western countries. If deployed at scale in the wild, the technology could potentially be effective in specifically and safely curbing this pest population. The authors claim that the method can be modified to target other pest species, precluding the need for environmentally unfriendly pesticides.
Scientists have discovered a new mechanism that enables plants to fight against microbial infections. The study identifies a family of bi-functional immune receptor proteins characterized by the presence of a TIR domain that hydrolyzes NAD+ and cleaves double stranded RNA or DNA to synthesize cyclic nucleotides. Combining the two mutually exclusive catalytic activities mediated by distinct structural conformations, allows these unique immune receptor proteins to combat microbial infections.