Using RNA interference (RNAi), a biological process which disrupts the production of an organism’s proteins, Syngenta is looking at a biocontrol method which kills target species but has no impact on any other organism, according to a report by Farmers Guardian.
Using Colorado potato beetle as an example pest, Mike Bean, global head, product technology and engineering at Syngenta, told an audience at its R&D Showcase: “Even the difference between insects, but not proteins can be combatted, so one species can be targeted without an impact on the other. We have designed a sequence that kills a potato beetle, but when we take a really closely related species like the mustard beetle, there’s absolutely no effect.
“This can be flipped around to kill mustard beetle, and not kill Colorado potato beetle. You’re generating a product for this particular beetle, because not all beetles are eating your plant.