Academic Venture Fund - 2012

Developing Species-Specific and Environmentally Friendly Insect Control

Closeup of invasive insect

A fundamental problem with pest control is that most pesticides affect many organisms. Scientists are now able to use double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) to interfere with gene transcription in a single type of insect—and kill it. Unfortunately, real-world application of this technology has been limited, because dsRNA is highly unstable under field conditions. This project will demonstrate that an existing biodegradable encapsulation technology works to stabilize dsRNA. The research promises to transform pest control by enabling species-specific, sustainable insecticides with virtually no adverse environmental effects.

Investigators: Jeffrey Scott, Michael Hoffmann, Dan Luo