An international consortium unveiled the whole genome sequence of the two-spotted red spider, one of the most cosmopolitan agriculture pests on Earth. Nature publishes this study.
The two-spotted red spider, Tetranychus urticae, feeds on over 1000 different plants, 150 plants of agricultural importance such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, apples, pears, maize and soya. As a result of the spider mite feeding and its huge resistance to the majority of the pesticides, this acari turns into one of the most upsetting plant pest causing damages of approximately one billion dollars.
A recent international study, in which have participated scientific researchers from the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), has focussed on the sequence and annotation of the whole genome of the two-spotted red spider. This pioneering genomics work, published in the last issue of Nature, opens new avenues for sustainable agriculture by developing non-pesticide tools for pest control breeding for the resistance to spider mites as well as biotechnological approaches for control of this pest resulting in the production of pesticide-free food.