BBSRC PhD Studentship on Insect Control

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 16:45

There is an iCASE BBSRC PhD studentship available in the Department of Zoology on insect control, resistance management and agricultural economics. The project is supervised by Dr Mike Bonsall.

Application Deadline: 15 March 2013

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Concerns over the impacts of insecticides, and the evolution of resistance in pest populations, are driving development of novel and sustainable pest control tools. The diamondback moth (DBM) is the major global brassica pest, and has developed resistance to conventional insecticides and biopesticides. Current resistance management using pesticide rotations is difficult with a restricted range of available products. Genetic technology has enabled the development of the RIDL (Release of Insects Carrying a Dominant Lethal) method in DBM. Female RIDL insects die unless provided without a dietary ‘antidote’ to the genetic system; this allows large numbers of single-sex (male) moths to be efficiently produced. For control of wild DBM, RIDL males would be released over the crop: after mating with wild females all female progeny die, reducing the size and reproductive capacity of the population. RIDL male releases can have additional resistance management benefits: survival of their male progeny in the field leads to introgression of insecticide-susceptibility genes into the wild population.

This studentship project will build on previous mathematical modelling of resistance management using RIDL. The effects of RIDL male releases on the evolution and management of Bt resistance in DBM populations will be investigated in both laboratory and contained glasshouse experiments. Data will be used to develop appropriate cost-effective economic models for incorporation of RIDL into integrated pest management strategies.

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