Larval RNAi in Tribolium (Coleoptera) for analyzing adult development

Dev Genes Evol. 2004 Nov;214(11):575-8. doi: 10.1007/s00427-004-0434-0. Epub 2004 Sep 9.


We report here on the use of RNA interference (RNAi) to create pupal and adult loss-of-function phenotypes in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, by injection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) into late instar larvae (we refer to this method as larval RNAi). RNAi is well-established as a useful method to mimic loss-of-function phenotypes in many organisms including insects. However, with a few exceptions (such as in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster), RNAi analysis has usually been limited to studies of embryogenesis. Here we demonstrate that injection of green fluorescent protein (GFP) dsRNA into the larval body cavity can inhibit GFP expression beginning shortly after injection and continuing through pupal and adult stages. RNAi analysis of the Tc-achaete-scute-homolog (Tc-ASH) revealed that larval RNAi can induce morphological defects in adult beetles, and also that larval RNAi affects the entire body rather than being localized near the site of injection. The larval RNAi technique will be useful to analyze gene functions in post-embryonic development, giving us the opportunity to study the molecular basis of adult morphological diversity in various organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / growth & development
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Pupa / genetics
  • Pupa / metabolism
  • RNA Interference / physiology*
  • Tribolium / genetics
  • Tribolium / growth & development*