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.
Japanese scientists have developed a functional annotation workflow for genome sequencing of insects. The workflow, called Fanflow4Insects, was openly developed on GitHub and is publicly accessible. Together with the functional annotation derived from expression, the data from Fanflow4Insects can be applied to the comparative study of insects with distinct phenotypes. The scientists intend to annotate the function of genes in insects that produce useful substances and use computer simulation to design molecular networks.
Direct parental (DIPA) CRISPR is a simple and accessible method for insect gene editing where Cas9 ribonucleoproteins are directly injected into adult females. Japanese and Spanish scientists collaborated to develop the new method to successfully establish gene knockouts and knockins in cockroaches and red flour beetles where conventional embryo microinjection cannot be applied. The new method cannot, however, be applied in all insects, including fruit flies.