Gene Silencing Technology for Insects

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Swansea University


Chemical, Life Sciences

About The Opportunity:

Researchers at Swansea University have developed a novel robust gene silencing technology for insect vectors of disease. This new technology, currently funded by the Gates Foundation, is a viable, cost-effective method of delivering RNAi (RNA interference) to populations of insects by infecting them with a bacterium that is a natural gut symbiont which expresses dsRNA targeting specific insect genes. The technology has been developed for the triatomine bug Rhodnius prolixus, the vector for Chagas disease, but is translatable to other disease vectors. While the technology holds significant promise for disease control, it is also a powerful new tool for the study of gene function.


  • The technology could be utilised for controlling insect pests for crop protection purposes. It is also an effective tool for studying gene function.

Key Benefits:

  • Can be used on a wide range of pests –  the expression system can be adapted to a wide range of insects;
  • Low cost and the potential to work with thousands of insects ;
  • Potential for horizontal and vertical transmission;
  • dsRNA knockdown is reversible (via traditional insect colony delivery methods);
  • No associated insect mortality or trauma infection compared to methods which rely on injecting insects.

IP Status:

The technology is claimed under patent application PCT/GB2013/050228.


The invention is offered for exclusive or non-exclusive licence.

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