Growing the future
The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is an engine of scientific discovery, with researchers working across the spectrum of agricultural and life sciences. Academically, the college offers research-based, hands-on teaching of undergraduates; world-class graduate programs rich in research and project assistantships; and short courses, workshops and other programs. Our outreach activities bring the work of the college to Wisconsin businesses, organizations and communities throughout the state. Learn more about CALS.
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In addition to being very targeted, we view these kinds of pest management approaches as reduced-risk and quite environmentally friendly in terms of pest management outcomes.
As a professor and extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, it’s part of Russ Groves’s job to protect vegetable crops from insect pests. That includes safeguarding potato crops from the Colorado potato beetle. The beetle is one of the most harmful pests of potato, so growers turn to insecticide sprays to keep the bugs at bay. Groves is working to develop more environmentally sustainable insect pest control options. In recent years, he partnered with the biotech industry to generate and fine-tune an insecticide option involving RNA interference (RNAi) technology. The approach, which silences critical genes in the beetle, is much more targeted than traditional insecticides. Under Groves’s supervision, it’s being tested on Wisconsin fields, and he anticipates seeing the first RNAi-based insecticide on the market soon. Read more: go.wisc.edu/n64836
Moves Us Forward.