|Coffee borer beetle and larvae in coffee berry.|
The gene HhMAN1 is found in the beetle genome surrounded by transposons. The theory presented states that these "jumping genes" may have been brought in from bacterial DNA from the beetle's gut in the first place. This theory is further plausible because no other closely related beetle species have this HhMAN1 gene. The presence of this carbohydrate digesting gene allowed the beetle to move about the globe and bring coffee plant destruction with it.
Understanding the genes that function in the beetle to allow for the destruction of coffee is key to managing for the invasive species. If we are able to hinder or alter the function of the gene in the beetles, causing them to be unable to digest the complex carbohydrate in the coffee berries, we could save millions of dollars in coffee crops and prevent the further spread of an invasive species.