Brief description Bactrocera tryoni (originally a native species of Queensland, and also known as Queensland fruit fly; QFF) is a major threat to the Australian horticulture industry and it has been estimated that A$4.8 billion of produce sales are prone to fruit fly damage. Currently fruit flies are controlled by creating exclusion zones, or application of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) that is reliant on rearing, irradiation and mass releases of poorly competitive males that breed with wild females and prevent them producing offspring. This project evaluated whether state-of-the-art gene blocking (RNAi) technology (a molecular technique for selectively inactivating genes using double-stranded RNA molecules) can be used as an alternative means to sterilize males or kill females and help improve the efficacy of SIT. The use of RNAi technology in mass rearing has the potential to fundamentally change the economics, practice and success of SIT in insect pests generally, with no adverse impacts on the environment and social and market acceptability.
Hort Innovation project AI13001