Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Scott, I.

2nd Supervisor

Thompson, G.

Co-Supervisor

Abstract

The greenhouse whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum is an agricultural pest that damages crops by feeding on plant sap and by vectoring plant viruses. Control of whiteflies has been managed through application of insecticides, but this strategy is not entirely effective and alternative control strategies are needed. In this thesis, I evaluated the efficacy of RNA interference as a means to control whiteflies on greenhouse-grown tomatoes. I found that root uptake of dsRNA synthesized from the v-ATPase subunit A gene caused significant gene knock-down and mortality in feeding whiteflies. This effect was, however, sensitive to the concentration of dsRNA delivery, and concentration was found to be negatively correlated with the plant’s water content. In total, my results demonstrate the potential for gene knock-down technology in greenhouse pest management, particularly of tomato crops. I recommend that future work continue investigating plant management of dsRNA through this application to determine if this strategy can be effective.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 05, 2019

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