Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sequencing of the Mountain Pine Beetle’s Genome

Science Daily published an article entitled “Researchers Help Unlock Pine Beetle's Pandora's Box” by 20 researchers from British Columbia (Christopher I. Keeling, Macaire Yuen, Nancy Y. Liao, T. Roderick Docking, Simon K. Chan, Greg A. Taylor, Diana L. Palmquist, Shaun D. Jackman, Anh Nguyen, Maria Li, Hannah Henderson, Jasmine K. Janes, Yongjun Zhao, Pawan Pandoh, Richard Moore, Felix Sperling, Dezene Huber, Inanc Birol, Stephen Jones, and Joerg Bohlmann). The researchers identified the sequencing of the mountain pine beetle’s genome in order to determine beetle population changes during infestation periods. In addition, a bacterial gene has been identified in the beetle’s genome that codes for an enzyme that digests sugar which may be aid in the digestion of wood. This information will assist authorities of British Columbia to limit the destruction of the forests by planning for future outbreaks. Currently, it is estimated that the mountain pine beetle has destroyed thousands of acres of forest in western North America.
I hope the research continues and an environmentally safe deterrent is identified to eradicate these pests. It is my understanding that the only treatment is an insecticide spray and it must be applied to the trees prior to infestation.
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1 comment:

  1. I lived in Colorado for two years before coming to Stockton and the devastation of the Pine Beetle can be seen all over. It is sad, there are dead trees all over. The mountains are no longer green, they have become brown. It became a huge concern to the ski resorts, because if they had to cut down all of their trees they would no longer have ski runs. It is true that you can only treat trees that have not been infested. I know that the ski resorts and I am sure the US Forest Services spent a lot of money spray because fire was a concern. The Beetle has now moved on from Colorado and now the clearing of trees has started, so the some of the mountains have become bare.