In the photo above: INTERFERENCE IN OPERATION. RNA interference technology (RNAi) is making its way into the world of agriculture. SmartStax PRO, a new product from Bayer, contains RNAi technology to help combat a slight increase in resistance to Bt traits.
Through natural selection, insects and other pests continue to thwart efforts to control them, developing resistance to sprays, seed treatments, and even in-plant protectors (PIPs). Corn rootworm (CRW), for example, has recently started to ignore some of the Bt characters introduced from 2003 to control it
From a simplified historical perspective, this adaptation is very rapid, especially since the previous main method of controlling CRWs – crop rotation – delayed resistance for decades.
The introduction of Bt corn significantly reduced the impacts of CRW, but with this technology facing challenges, scientists turned to a new biotech tool – RNA interference (RNAi).
In fact, in 2017, Bayer’s SmartStax PRO, a GM corn seed with an RNAi-based mode of action, became the first RNAi-based insect control product to be approved by the EPA. and just got approval for food / food import and use from China, opening the door for a commercial release in 2022.
The use of RNAi technology is promising because it can be deployed in a very targeted manner. According to Graham Head, head of global resistance management at Bayer, “RNA interference can target particular aspects of an insect’s biology and use it to control them.
“By using this technology, we are able to examine the genes that …