UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — Scientists are working on a new way to protect crops from insects by exploiting the language of love.
Researchers say that genetically engineering plants to produce the sex pheromones of bugs messes with their mating instincts and prevents them from laying eggs, which then hatch into larvae that eat and destroy crops.
-It’s a plan of attack that doesn’t involve pesticides.
The project is still in its early stages but the team of European researchers working on the idea have already had success in growing a plant that targets moths.
For now, they’re harvesting insect pheromones naturally produced by certain plants but they eventually want to manufacture the pheromones using synthetic biology.
These would then be used to develop “protector” plants that could grow next to crops to keep insects away.
The concept could dramatically lower the global use of pesticides which can destroy populations of beneficial insects, like bees.