Computational Technology Finds Genes for Insect Control

Computational Technology Finds Genes for Insect Control

Author: Veronika Belusa

Evogene completed their first computational discovery round for microbial genes with insecticidal properties. The researchers used a unique computational technology infrastructure consisting of a proprietary microbial-based database and analysis platform, BiomeMinerTM. The next step in their study is to validate that the candidate genes are effective in controlling target insects such as corn rootworm, and corn earworm. The validation which is taking place in St. Louis, USA, is expected to be completed next year.

The current market for insect control traits based on microbial genes is estimated at approx. $4.5 billion annually. Most of these products are based on microbial genes derived from one type of bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Insects have grown resistant to Bt over the years.

Evogene’s BiomeMiner database contains tens of millions of microbial genes. It is capable of integrating data from diverse microbial sources such as publicly available data and data collections from proprietary experimental samples enriched for insecticidal activity. The database has integration capabilities of vast amounts of highly sparse and complex ‘metagenomics’ data. To process this huge microbial gene pool, the platform uses advanced machine learning algorithms to rapidly identify and prioritize genes with insecticidal properties.


 

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