Chinese scientists report new findings on white fly control

BEIJING (NUT DESK)  Chinese scientists have published new findings on a widespread agricultural pest in the journal Cell, according to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

Though most plants serve as food for insects, they protect themselves against insects with toxins.

How herbivorous insects resist plant defenses was previously a mystery.The white-fly is a widespread agricultural pest whose presence causes several serious pathogenic plant viruses.

It presents an excellent model for scientists to study insects” mechanisms to overcome plant defenses.In the study published online on Thursday, scientists from the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers under CAAS found that the white-fly has acquired the plant-derived gene BtPMaT1, which reduces plant toxins for the insect. The findings will help scientists study new methods to control white-flies, said Zhang Youjun, who works at the institute and lead the research.