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SciTech How Natural Pesticides Work

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How natural pesticides work

Agricultural Research, June, 2005 by Stephen O. Duke



Over time, some weeds and fungi have developed resistance to many agricultural pesticides, creating a need to devise biologically based compounds--or biocides--with new modes of action. Organisms treated with pesticides respond by altering the transcription of their genes, most of which are expressed as proteins.
Different pesticides cause different transcription patterns, called transcription fingerprints, which can be documented and catalogued. Transcription is the first of two stages most genes undergo during the process of protein synthesis. After genetic information from DNA is transferred to messenger RNA (mRNA), the mRNA data is transferred to the protein during what is called translation.

Cutting-edge research is now under way to discern how natural fungicides and herbicides affect transcription fingerprints. Scientists are cataloging the effects of natural pesticides with different modes of action. Eventually, they will be assembled into gene transcription libraries for fungicides and for herbicides. These libraries will facilitate screening of new biocides and eventually be made available to the public.



Stephen O. Duke, USDA-ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, Oxford, Mississippi; phone (662) 915-1036, e-mail sduke@msaoxford.ars.usda.gov.


COPYRIGHT 2005 U.S. Government Printing Office
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

 

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