RNA interference (RNAi) is a cellular process by which an mRNA is targeted for degradation by a small interfering RNA that contains a strand complementary to a fragment of the target mRNA, resulting in sequence specific inhibition of gene expression. The discovery of RNAi enabled the use of loss-of-function analyses in many non-model insects other than Drosophila to elucidate the roles of specific genes. The RNAi approach has been widely used on insects in several fields, including embryogenesis, pattern formation, reproduction, biosynthesis and behavior. The increasing availability of insect genomes has made the RNAi technique an indispensable technique for characterizing gene functions in insects. Here we review the current status of RNAi-based experiments in insects and the applications of RNAi for species-specific insecticides, focusing on non-drosophilid insects. We also identify future applications for RNAi-based studies in Entomology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science