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Proteins show promise for mosquito control

ance and the effect on non-target species. "I believe you should develop smart pesticides to only kill the mosquitoes," Lan says. "We don't want to go down the same road as DDT."

To that end, her team is testing the most promising handful of SCP inhibitor compounds on a variety of insect and vertebrate species. So far three of the five compounds tested were not toxic to mouse cells and the other two were only slightly toxic. They will also test the compounds on other pest species, including flies, roaches and termites.

Environmental and degradation tests have yet to be performed. "We want a specific target with low residue time- two to three weeks and it should be degraded," Lan says.

Lan and her team have patented the gene and the methods for screening the compounds. It will take a year to screen another 20,000 chemicals. After that, they will be looking for companies to develop the compounds into chemical inhibitors for widespread mosquito control.

"Four years ago (when Lan joined the faculty of UW-Madison) I couldn't imagine having five viable compounds in hand," Lan says. "This is the first example of looking at target proteins for pest management. No one has done this with insects."


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Contact: Que Lan
qlan@entomology.wisc.edu
608-263-7924
University of Wisconsin-Madison
10-Sep-2004


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