Olive fly molecular biology goes -omic
Abstract: The olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae, is the major pest of the olive tree. The female fly leaves its eggs in the olive fruit and the resulting larvae destroy the fruit by feeding on its sap. Currently, its control is based on chemical insecticides. In several insect pests, the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) has been proven to be an effective environmentally friendly alternative. The SIT is based on the mass production and release of sterile insects into field populations. Past efforts to apply the SIT in the olive fly were unsuccessful, mainly due to the low competitiveness of the mass-reared flies. Several years of experience have shown that efficient SIT protocols rely on the availability of fundamental genetic and molecular information and the development of modern transgenic tools. In recent times, molecular and genetic studies in the olive fly have focused on genetic analyses of natural populations, cytogenetics, isolation and characterization of a few genes that control important biological processes, as well as the identification and mapping of several microsatellite loci. Just a few years ago, B. oleae was successfully transformed, an achievement that gave new perspective towards the efficient use of the SIT. Lately, this is being coupled with genomics studies and transcriptomics analyses of various important systems (i.e., reproductive and olfactory), as well as efforts in advancing olive fly mass-rearing, that are setting the ground for the application of modern control approaches through the genetic manipulation of the insect.