With the loss of chemical control options such as Fenthion and Dimethoate for postharvest treatment of horticulture commodities susceptible to fruit fly infestation, it has become even more important to understand how stress-based control techniques such as heat, cold and irradiation can be used most effectively for disinfestation.
This project aims to explore the stress-induced molecular response of two fruit fly species of horticultural significance, Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) and Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni), by characterising the cellular pathways involved in both overall and stressor-specific responses. Three specific steps are: 1) to conduct bioassays and RNAseq across developmental stages and recovery time to identify candidate genes responding to stress or recovery, 2) to construct gene networks to identify pathway membership and relationships by bioinformatics analysis, and 3) to validate specific genes' involvement in stress response and resistance using functional assays.
To date, we have completed the heat, cold and irradiation bioassays on both C. capitata and B. tryoni larvae and eggs. RNA samples were collected, sequenced and analyzed. A group of candidate genes have been identified for molecular pathway as well as “marker” genes involved in heat and cold treatments. We aim to provide the wider research community with tephritid stress-response networks which will aid in the further development of tools to safeguard our fruit and vegetable crops.