Bemisia tabaci cryptic species Middle East-Asia Minor I (MEAM1) is a serious agricultural polyphagous insect pest and vector of numerous plant viruses, causing major worldwide economic losses. B. tabaci control is limited by lack of robust gene editing tools. Gene editing is difficult in B. tabaci due to small embryos that are technically challenging to inject and which have high mortality post injection. We developed a CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing protocol based on injection of vitellogenic adult females rather than embryos ("ReMOT Control"). We identified an ovary-targeting peptide ligand ("BtKV") that, when fused to Cas9 and injected into adult females, transduced the ribonucleoprotein complex to the germline, resulting in efficient, heritable editing of the offspring genome. In contrast to embryo injection, adult injection is easy and does not require specialized equipment. Development of easy-to-use gene editing protocols for B. tabaci will allow researchers to apply the power of reverse genetic approaches to this species and will lead to novel control methods for this devastating pest insect.
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