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A lag in the advancement of biotechnology: reliable control of maize stem borers in Africa

Adeyinka Olawale Samuel*, Bushra Tabbassum, Muhammad Nauman Sharif, Muhammad Umar Bhatti, Idrees Ahmad Nasir, Tayyab Husnain

 

Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of the Punjab, 87-West Canal Bank Road, Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore, Pakistan

 

*Corresponding address:

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Received: August 25, 2017

Accepted: December 18, 2017

 

Abstract

The future of food security in Africa is being severely threatened due to an exponential increase in population, which is almost three times the increase of food production. Maize production is constrained by stem borers which cause significant yield losses. Yield losses can be further compounded by higher temperatures due to climate changes, which are expected to increase the population of maize stem borers. While several methods have been employed in stem borer management, there is still significant damage caused by maize stem borers. This necessitates better control methods including the adoption of recent biotechnological advancement in RNA interference (RNAi) technology. This review highlights evidence of an increase in the stem borer population as well as the foreseen decline in maize production worldwide due to the effects of climatic changes. Furthermore, we have drawn attention to improved methods that have been used to control stem borers in maize production as well as a reluctant acceptance of traditional biotechnology in Africa. Finally, we suggest the application of alternative RNA interference techniques to breed maize for efficient pest control in order to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable maize production.

 

Key words: climatic changes, food security, Integrated Pest Management, maize, stem borer, RNAi technology

 

 

 
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