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“Spidey” Gene Could Be Key To Future Pest Control

UH Pacific Biosciences Research Center
UH Pacific Biosciences Research Center
UH Pacific Biosciences Research Center
Credit UH Pacific Biosciences Research Center
Joanne Yew – Assistant researcher, UH M?noa Pacific Biosciences Research

An international team of scientists led by the University of Hawai?i at M?noa may have discovered an effective way to control insect pests which threaten agriculture and humans.  They identified a gene in vinegar flies which is responsible for the insect’s waterproof coating.

Removing the gene cut their lifespan in half, and blocked production of a waxy coating which prevents them from sticking to an object. That action led researchers to nickname the gene “Spidey” after the way Spiderman sticks to walls.  Joanne Yewis with the Pacific Biosciences Research Center of UH M?noa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology..  She says the process could provide an alternative solution to other methods like pesticide. 

Yew and her colleagues plan to knock out the gene in other pest species which are a major threat to agriculture.  In the future they’ll test mosquitoes which can carry human diseases like Zika and Dengue fever. The findings were recently published in PLoS Genetics.

Nick Yee’s passion for music developed at an early age, as he collected jazz and rock records pulled from dusty locations while growing up in both Southern California and Honolulu. In college he started DJing around Honolulu, playing Jazz and Bossa Nova sets at various lounges and clubs under the name dj mr.nick. He started to incorporate Downtempo, House and Breaks into his sets as his popularity grew, eventually getting DJ residences at different Chinatown locations. To this day, he is a fixture in the Honolulu underground club scene, where his live sets are famous for being able to link musical and cultural boundaries, starting mellow and building the audience into a frenzy while steering free of mainstream clichés.
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