[permaculture] [Fwd: Nonchemical Way to Control Mosquitoes]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Thu Dec 20 17:49:24 EST 2007

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Nonchemical Way to Control Mosquitoes
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 09:37:57 -0500
From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
To: ARS News subscriber <lflj at bellsouth.net>

New Nonchemical Approach to Curbing Mosquitoes

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Sharon Durham, (301) 504-1611, sharon.durham at ars.usda.gov
December 20, 2007
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr

Most pesticides are toxic to insects and humans alike, but a molecular pesticide developed by Agricultural Research 
Service (ARS) scientists may provide a new way to deal with mosquito pests without causing a risk to human health.

The molecular pesticide technology would also overcome the mosquito's ability to develop resistance to particular 
pesticides. A molecular pesticide has nucleic acid, such as DNA or RNA, as its active ingredient. The technology also 
has potential to be used against other insect pests.

The technology was developed by ARS entomologists Julia W. Pridgeon and James J. Becnel, in the ARS Mosquito and Fly 
Research Unit, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Fla. Their technology prevents 
mosquitoes from producing essential proteins necessary for their survival. Although other approaches to nonchemical pest 
control are being pursued, this ARS invention has certain advantages.

The molecular pesticide concept allows scientists to design each pesticide specifically for the targeted individual pest 
species. It interrupts genes essential for insect survival, causing the insect to die. This recently discovered 
technology maximizes safety and minimizes environmental impact on beneficial insects.

In addition, molecular pesticides should be effective against pest species that are resistant to conventional chemical 
pesticides. Chemical pesticides often have an impact on the physiological systems shared by humans, but this new method 
only targets specific genes of the pest species. Molecular pesticides can also be easily administered--by contacting the 
insect externally.

This technology would also reduce the time and costs associated with obtaining regulatory approval of new products and 
would also serve as a model system for developing novel insecticides. Successful development and transfer of molecular 
pesticides could represent a quantum leap in developing new toxicants for pest control.

A patent application for this technology has been submitted and ARS is seeking a cooperative research and development 
partner to develop appropriate formulations that can be marketed and sold commercially. This research was partially 
funded by the Deployed War-Fighter Protection Research Program funded from the U.S. Department of Defense.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.


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ARS News Service, Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2251, Beltsville MD 20705-5128
NewsService at ars.usda.gov | www.ars.usda.gov/news
Phone (301) 504-1636 | fax (301) 504-1486

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