RNA interference (RNAi) has proven effective for controlling pest insects such as western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Previous studies have shown that WCR adults display a robust RNAi response to orally-administered double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). However, it is unclear how quickly the response occurs after ingestion or how long RNAi effect lasts after WCR stop ingesting diet containing dsRNA. In the current study, WCR adult females were provided with diet treated with dsRNAs of Laccase 2 and Argonaute 2, two nonessential genes, for 8 days. RNAi response in WCR females commenced as early as 10 h after exposure to dsRNA and lasted up to 40 days after exposure to dsRNA ended. Our results show that dsRNA-mediated RNAi response in WCR females is rapid and long-lasting. These findings suggest that even a short-term ingestion of transgenic plants expressing dsRNA by WCR may have a sustained impact on this insect.
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