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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01319

Management of Pest Insects and Plant Diseases by Non-transformative RNAi

  • 1Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil
  • 2Centro de Citricultura Sylvio Moreira, Brazil
  • 3Ghent University, Belgium

Since the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi), scientists have made significant progress towards the development of this unique technology for crop protection. The RNAi mechanism works at the mRNA level by exploiting a sequence-dependent mode of action with high target specificity due the design of complementary dsRNA molecules, allowing growers to target pests more precisely compared to conventional agrochemicals. The delivery of RNAi through transgenic plants is now a reality with some products currently in the market. Conversely, it is also expected that more RNA-based products reach to the market as non-transformative alternatives. For instance, topically applied dsRNA/siRNA (SIGS – Spray Induced Gene Silencing) has attracted attention due to its feasibility and low-cost compared to transgenic plants. Once on the leaf surface, dsRNAs can move directly to target pest cells (e.g., insects or pathogens) or indirectly being taken up by plant cells and then transferred into the pest cells. Water-soluble formulations containing pesticidal dsRNA provide alternatives, especially in some cases where plant transformation is not possible or takes years and cost millions to be developed (e.g., perennial crops). The ever-growing understanding of the RNAi mechanism and its limitations has allowed scientist to develop non-transgenic approaches such as trunk injection, soaking, and irrigation. While the technology has been considered promising for pest management, some issues such as RNAi efficiency, dsRNA degradation, environmental risk assessments, and resistance evolution still needs to be addressed. Here, our main goal was to review some possible strategies for non-transgenic delivery systems, addressing important issues related to the use of this technology.

Keywords: RNAi, non-transformative RNAi, RNA-based products, Gene Silencing, Pest insects, Plant Diseases

Received: 05 Jul 2019; Accepted: 23 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Cagliari, Dias, GALDEANO, dos Santos, Smagghe and Zotti. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
PhD. Deise Cagliari, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, 96010-610, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, deisycagliari@yahoo.com.br
Prof. Guy Smagghe, Ghent University, Ghent, 9000, East Flanders, Belgium, guy.smagghe@ugent.be
Prof. Moises J. Zotti, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, 96010-610, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, moises.zotti@ufpel.edu.br