The picture shows a tube containing beetles that received the “control” treatment before freezing them in liquid nitrogen and then stored in -80℃ freezer. This is the last step of the survivability assay. For the gene expression profiling, RNA sequencing will examine genome-wide expression changes to examine the gene regulatory pathways induced in the insect vector by ivermectin.
The difference in the changes in gene expression between the beetles that were not exposed to the drug or were exposed to the drug will account for the effect of ivermectin, in different concentrations, to the vector at the molecular level. My goal is met when I discovered that the “wonder drug” affects not only the pathogen or the host but also the insect vector, as most scientific studies on ivermectin are on its effects to the pathogen or the host.
This project is designed to explore the feasibility of the drug as an insecticide, specifically for the Colorado potato beetles since they have extraordinary detoxifying abilities that make them quite insensitive to insecticides. Additionally, most insecticides are harmful to humans, whereas ivermectin is safe and is used to treat parasitic infections in humans.