Ingestion of Species-Specific dsRNA Alters Gene Expression and Can Cause Mortality in the Forest Pest, Ips calligraphus

Mary Wallace, Lynne K. Rieske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ips calligraphus (Germar) is a conifer pest that causes economically and ecologically significant tree mortality, particularly when forests are stressed. As forests become increasingly vulnerable to pest outbreaks due to habitat fragmentation, invasive species, or climate change, innovative management strategies are needed to augment traditional approaches. Manipulating the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway is emerging as a novel pest management technology that could serve as a means of managing I. calligraphus while minimizing non-target effects. Demonstrating effectiveness of exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) in inducing changes in gene expression and causing mortality is an essential step. In this study, oral ingestion of dsRNA caused significant changes in gene expression and increased mortality for two of the three target dsRNAs tested. Additionally, we sequenced 5 mRNA libraries from adult beetles to assemble a transcriptome, from which we identified sequences of target genes for dsRNAs, and 10 genes in the I. calligraphus transcriptome putatively involved in the RNAi pathway. We demonstrate that oral ingestion of exogenous dsRNA can trigger the RNAi pathway. This is the first published study to artificially trigger the RNAi pathway in an Ips spp. and the first step in evaluating the potential for pest management strategies utilizing RNAi against this pest.

Original languageEnglish
Article number422
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • RNA interference
  • bark beetle
  • forest pest management
  • six-spined Ips

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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