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Darlington, M.; Reinders, J.D.; Sethi, A.; Lu, A.L.; Ramaseshadri, P.; Fischer, J.R.; Boeckman, C.J.; Petrick, J.S.; Roper, J.M.; Narva, K.E.; et al. RNAi forWestern Corn Rootworm Management: Lessons Learned, Challenges, and Future Directions. Insects 2022, 13, 57. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/insects13010057


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).


The western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, is considered one of the most economically important pests of maize (Zea mays L.) in the United States (U.S.) Corn Belt with costs of management and yield losses exceeding USD ~1–2 billion annually. WCR management has proven challenging given the ability of this insect to evolve resistance to multiple management strategies including synthetic insecticides, cultural practices, and plant-incorporated protectants, generating a constant need to develop new management tools. One of the most recent developments is maize expressing double-stranded hairpin RNA structures targeting housekeeping genes, which triggers an RNA interference (RNAi) response and eventually leads to insect death. Following the first description of in planta RNAi in 2007, traits targeting multiple genes have been explored. In June 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the first in planta RNAi product against insects for commercial use. This product expresses a dsRNA targeting the WCR snf7 gene in combination with Bt proteins (Cry3Bb1 and Cry34Ab1/Cry35Ab1) to improve trait durability and will be introduced for commercial use in 2022.

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