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Challenge of target genes for silencing via RNA interference in Diaphorina citri (Insecta, Hemiptera: Liviidae) and Brevipalpus yothersi (Acari: Tenuipalpidae), main vectors of diseases in citrus

Grant number: 22/02740-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2022
Effective date (End): May 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal Investigator:Valdenice Moreira Novelli
Grantee:Gabriel Restani
Host Institution: Instituto Agronômico (IAC). Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios (APTA). Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento (São Paulo - Estado). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Citrus production in Brazil is a large-scale crop and, consequently, faces numerous biotic and abiotic problems. In this way, citrus growers live with the incessant search for strategies for the safe management of orchards. However, the production budget is due high cost of phytosanitary measures to control pests and pathogens. Among the pests, there are the flat mite Brevipalpus yothersi (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) and the psyllid Diaphorina citri (Insecta, Hemiptera: Liviidae), respectively vectors of the pathogens CiLV-C (leprosis virus) and ´Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus´ - which cause the currently most impacting diseases in orchards, citrus leprosis and hunglongbing (HLB, ex-greening). Both vectors are primarily controlled by agrochemicals, but it is not being fully effective, because it measure can cause environmental and human health damage. However, in the current scenario, for sustainable citrus farming, it is necessary to provide other and/or new alternatives. Thus, RNA interference technique (RNAi) it has shown to be promising and applied in research aimed at controlling agricultural pests, through the silencing of essential genes of these arthropods. The objective of this proposal is to deliver dsRNA from target genes, previously selected for D. citri (psyllids) and B. yothersi, and to evaluate the possible effects of silencing through biological parameters such as reproduction, oviposition and mortality. The results of this work will contribute with essential information for the validation and application of the RNAi technique as a future tool for the control and management of the vectors of these main citrus diseases.

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