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Drosophila, Chitin and Insect Pest Management

[ Vol. 26 , Issue. 29 ]


Yiwen Wang, Lujuan Gao and Bernard Moussian*   Pages 3546 - 3553 ( 8 )


Insects are a great menace in agriculture and vectors of human diseases. Hence, controlling insect populations is an important issue worldwide. A common strategy to control insects is the application of insecticides. However, insecticides entail three major problems. First, insecticides are chemicals that stress ecosystems and may even be harmful to humans. Second, insecticides are often unspecific and also eradicate beneficial insect species like the honeybee. Third, insects are able to develop resistance to insecticides. Therefore, the efficient generation of new potent insecticides and their intelligent delivery are the major tasks in agriculture. In addition, acceptance or refusal in society is a major issue that has to be considered in the application of a pest management strategy. In this paper, we unify two issues: 1) we illustrate that our molecular knowledge of the chitin synthesis and organization pathways may offer new opportunities to design novel insecticides that are environmentally harmless at the same time being specific to a pest species; and 2) we advocate that the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster may serve as an excellent model of insect to study the effects of insecticides at the genetic, molecular and histology level in order to better understand their mode of action and to optimize their impact. Especially, chitin synthesis and organization proteins and enzymes are excellently dissected in the fruit fly, providing a rich source for new insecticide targets. Thus, D. melanogaster offers a cheap, efficient and fast assay system to address agricultural questions, as has been demonstrated to be the case in bio-medical research areas.


Drosophila melanogaster, insecticide, xenobiotics, chitin, cuticle.


School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Tianjin University, 300072, Tianjin, School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Tianjin University, 300072, Tianjin, Interfaculty Institute for Cell Biology (Ifiz), University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, 72076 Tübingen

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