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KFU genetic scientists win an impressive grant for the creation of DNA insecticides

CrimeaPRESS reports:

Scientists of the Crimean Federal University became the winners of a grant from the Russian Science Foundation. The development is dedicated to the creation of oligonucleotide insecticides (DNA insecticides) based on antisense technologies aimed at regulating the number of insect pests.

The grant is for three years. The total amount of funding will be 16 million 800 thousand rubles , — the press service of the university notes.

Thanks to the large-scale five-year work of scientists from the Crimean Federal University, this development turned out to be successful and in demand. Its scientific uniqueness lies in the fact that no one in the world has created such drugs.

We were the first to propose the development of contact insecticides based on nucleic acids for agriculture. A significant result of our work will be the emergence of a new generation of drugs to control the number of insect pests, which will bring economic benefits without harm to non-target organisms , — said Vladimir Rim.

According to the scientist, the finished product is a liquid that will be sprayed on plants affected by insect pests:

As a rule, these insects are invisible and often found on plants. For example, they may look like a small bump on the leaf surface. These include scale insects, false scale insects, scale insects, aphids, psyllids and others, which, by sucking the juices from the plant, in fact, lead to its weakening and, as a result, a significant decrease in yield.

Five young scientists of the Crimean Federal University are involved in the work on the project. The scientific team will synthesize oligonucleotide insecticides in the laboratory and conduct research in the field.

This opens up new horizons for the use of nucleic acids as an active tool for influencing the cell. In fact, the work uses a technology that was invented by nature itself. In the process of research, we found out that the plant itself on the surface of the leaves is capable of forming a nanolayer of DNA-insecticides, formed from its own DNA , — says Vladimir Oberemok.

The scientist noted that the finished product will be important both for plant protection and for the environment. Compared to chemicals that have a rather long half-life and insufficient selectivity, oligonucleotide insecticides will be safe not only for beneficial insects, but also for human health.

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