Biosafety aspects of RNAi-based pests control

Pest Manag Sci. 2024 Aug;80(8):3697-3706. doi: 10.1002/ps.8098. Epub 2024 Apr 5.


While the overuse of classical chemical pesticides has had a detrimental impact on the environment and human health, the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) offered the opportunity to develop new and sustainable approaches for pest management. RNAi is a naturally occurring regulation and defense mechanism that can be exploited to effectively protect crops by silencing key genes affecting the growth, development, behavior or fecundity of pests. However, as with all technologies, there is a range of potential risks and challenges associated with the application of RNAi, such as dsRNA stability, the potential for off-target effects, the safety of non-target organisms, and other application challenges. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in RNAi and in-depth discussion and analysis of these associated safety risks, is required to limit or mitigate potential adverse effects. © 2024 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: RNAi; RNAi‐based pesticides; biosafety; host‐induced gene silencing (HIGS); risk assessment; spray‐induced gene silencing (SIGS).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Pest Control / methods
  • Pest Control, Biological / methods
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / genetics


  • RNA, Double-Stranded