Field Trial to Evaluate EAB Specific Gene Silencing as a Component of an IPM Program to Save Ash

Grants and Contracts Details


Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invader of unprecedented scope and impact. It kills trees very rapidly by tunneling beneath the bark and disrupting the cambial tissue, and all North American ash are susceptible. Chemical suppression of EAB is possible, but impractical. Biological control can be successful but is slow acting. Gene silencing is a next generation pest management approach. It represents a viable, non-chemical, emerging technology against EAB with proven lab and greenhouse results. It works by disrupting translation of RNA to proteins, thereby silencing essential genes and causing rapid mortality. We have developed EAB specific gene silencing technology to the point where it is ready for field evaluation. We’ve identified suitable target genes, demonstrated practical delivery and in-plant spatial distribution, retention, and efficacy in the lab and in the greenhouse. We’ve demonstrated specificity and safety, and compatibility with current biological control efforts. In this project, dsHSP, an EAB-specific dsRNA with known efficacy, will be applied to 1.5-2 m tall, 2.5-3cm DBH ash growing in the field. Trees will be destructively sampled at 3, 7, 21, 30, 60 d post application, and stem and foliage will be evaluated for dsRNA uptake and retention. A subset of treated trees will be challenged with EAB eggs and adult beetles, and egg hatch, neonate development and survival, and adult feeding will be quantified and compared to untreated trees. Given the scope and magnitude of the EAB invasion and the difficulties associated with conventional management approaches, this proposal could generate an exciting and usable tool for an IPM program targeting EAB.
Effective start/end date5/26/233/31/25


  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: $86,725.00


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