Until now limited to America and the Caribbean, Spodoptera frugiperda [also known as the Fall Armyworm] is estimated to cause 600 million dollars in damage in Brazil every year.... Since January 2016, it has become invasive in Africa, where it destroys maize crops in 21 countries in the south and west parts of the continent. It is currently a threat to the European continent.
In the framework of an international public consortium called Fall Armyworm...researchers...sequenced the genome of Spodoptera frugiperda.
For the purpose of the study, two genomes of S. frugiperda were analysed...based on the insect’s host plant – the maize variant and rice variant, which are found throughout their range of distribution in America. The researchers found differences between the variants in terms of the number and sequence of genes necessary to detoxify the toxins emitted by the plants and in the genes necessary for digestion.
This data was made available to the international scientific community to allow specialists to identify which variant of the moth is invading Africa. Moreover, this work will also make it possible to envision new biological control methods. It will also improve understanding of the mechanisms by which pesticide resistance appears.
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