Commenced in January 2007
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Topical RNAi for Sustainable Animal Health in Australian Sheep Flystrike by Polymer Delivery

Authors: Yunjia Yang, Peng Li, Gordon Xu, Timothy Mahony, Neena Mitter, Karishma Mody


Sheep flystrike is one of the most economically important diseases affecting the Australian sheep and wool industry (>356M/annually). Currently, control of Lucillia cuprinarelies almost exclusively on chemicals controls, and the parasite has developed resistance to nearly all control chemicals used in the past. It is therefore critical to develop an alternative solution for the sustainable control and management of flystrike.RNA interference (RNAi) technologies have been successfully explored in multiple animal industries for developing parasites controls. This research project aims to develop a RNAi based biological control for sheep blowfly. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) has already proven successful against viruses, fungi, and insects. However, the environmental instability of dsRNA is a major bottleneck, with a protection window only lasting 5-7 days. Bentonite polymer (BenPol) technology can overcome this problem as it can be tuned for controlled release of the dsRNA in the gut, challenging pH environment of the blowfly larvae, prolonging its exposure time to and uptake by target cells. We have investigated four different BenPol carriers for their dsRNA loading capabilities, of which three of them were able to afford dsRNA stability under multiple temperatures (4°C, 22°C, 40°C, 55°C) in the sheep serum. Our results establish that the dsRNA, when loaded on BenPol particles, is stable, unlike dsRNA alone, which is rapidlydegraded in the sheep serum. Astable nanoparticles delivery system that can protect and increase the inherent stability of the dsRNA molecules at higher temperatures in a complex biological fluid like a serum offers a great deal of promise for the future use of this approach for enhancing animal protection.

Keywords: australian sheep blowfly, lucillia cuprina, RNAi, polymer delivery, flystrike control

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