Navigation Links
Fruit flies help Yale scientists sniff out new insect repellents
Date:9/22/2010

By following the "nose" of fruit flies, Yale scientists are on the trail of new insect repellents that may reduce the spread of infectious disease and damage to agricultural crops. That's because they've learned for the first time how a group of genes used to differentiate smells is turned on and off, opening new possibilities for insect control. Just as in new drug development, researchers can target these or similar genes in other insects to create substances that make crops and people "invisible" to insect antennae. Without the ability to smell correctly, the insects are far less likely to attack a person or plant, as is the case with mosquitoes whose ability to smell lactic acid is disrupted by the active ingredient in insect repellents, DEET. This finding is reported in the September 2010 issue of the journal GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org).

According to Carson Miller, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, "One of the fundamental questions in biology is, 'how does a cell choose which genes it should turn on and which genes it should turn off?' By studying this question in odor-sensitive neurons of fruit flies, we hope to learn how cells make these choices, as well as to develop more effective odor-based insect repellents."

The scientists studied four genes from a group of odor receptor genes in the fruit fly. These genes afford flies the ability to detect different scents. Pieces of DNA in front of these genes contained enough information to tell the fly to turn on these genes in specific cells of the antenna. Miller made an artificial reporter gene that used the regulatory DNA in front of an Odor receptor gene to control a test gene that could be easily monitored for expression. An entire set of such reporter genes were created, each containing less of the regulatory DNA. The goal was to determine how short the regulatory region could be and yet still control the test gene normally. This helped Miller to identify where the important control elements lie in the regulatory DNA, and whether they serve to turn the gene on in cells where it is needed or to turn the gene off where it doesn't belong.

"The sense of smell is an Achilles heel for many insects," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal GENETICS, "and the more we learn about odor receptors the easier it will be to interfere with them to battle insect-borne disease and crop devastation. This study is a step forward in doing that by identifying the mechanism that results in the highly selective expression of 'smell genes'."


'/>"/>

Contact: Tracey DePellegrin Connelly
td2p@andrew.cmu.edu
412-760-5391
Genetics Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Winter drought stress can delay flowering, prevent fruit loss in orange crops
2. UCI scientists decode genomes of sexually precocious fruit flies
3. OU study on genetics in fruit flies leads to new method for understanding brain function
4. Core knowledge of tree fruit expands with apple genome sequencing
5. Fruit flies use horizontal landmarks for altitude control, says Caltech research team
6. Understanding cancer using the fruit fly
7. Gene leads to longer shelf life for tomatoes, possibly other fruits
8. Carnivorous mammals track fruit abundance
9. How smarter school lunchrooms increase fruit sales
10. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with improved diet quality in children
11. New research suggests choosing different fruits and vegetables may increase phytonutrient intake
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... Florida , April 11, 2017 ... a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors ... Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s ... ... of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS The ... at a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period ... primary factor for the growth of the stem cell ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market ... and geography. The stem cell market of the product ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... HONG KONG , March 30, 2017 ... developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground ... technology into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use ... applications at an affordable cost. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/20/2017)... , ... June 20, 2017 , ... ... discovery of antibody therapeutics from millions-diverse immune repertoires, announces launch of its new ... Diego, California. Dave Johnson, PhD, CEO of GigaGen, will present on Surge at ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... Tunnell Consulting has been solving the most ... biggest challenges faced by life sciences, biotech and pharmaceuticals companies today is in interpreting ... Abraham , who is well known in the industry and brings significant high-level expertise ...
(Date:6/16/2017)... ... June 16, 2017 , ... Cambridge Semantics ... that its Anzo Smart Data Lake® (Anzo SDL) solution was named a ... 2017 Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) CODiE Awards. , Finalists represent ...
(Date:6/15/2017)... ... June 15, 2017 , ... Cybrexa Therapeutics, ... B round of financing in the amount of $6 million. An investment vehicle ... in the round. , The Series B funding will enable Cybrexa to complete ...
Breaking Biology Technology: