RNAi as a pest management tool in Aphids
This project seeks to optimize dsRNAi design and delivery in sap feeding aphids of relevance to AHDB. There are several challenges to be addressed, including dsRNA degradation by proteases present in the aphid gut and saliva, uptake and translocation of the dsRNA in crop plants that the aphids feed upon, development of topical delivery methods, and achieving a sufficient dose of bio-aphicide to achieve good control. A key benefit to AHDB will be a versatile RNAi based bio-aphicide that can protect several key agricultural crops, including cereals & oilseeds, that are vulnerable to aphid pests. New products are needed to mitigate the loss of chemical actives due to stricter regulatory compliance introduced by the EU. RNAi is likely to be a key component of any future UK based IPM programme that does not rely on chemical active’s, especially in the absence of regulatory approval for GM or gene edited crops.
The successful student will be supported by the tax-free stipend (£14,777 in 2018/19), for 3 years. In addition, for eligible students, the award will cover fees for UK nationals and a Research and Training Grant to fund their research, conference attendance and networking.