Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota researchers have been collaborating on medical research for over five years as part of the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. Now they’ve gone from humans to bugs. Investigators have discovered a way to create a human-safe pesticide aimed specifically at aphids that destroy soybeans and other crops across the country.
“We’ve shown in the laboratory that we’re 99 % effective in inhibiting a key enzyme in two aphids, one that damages soybeans,” says Stephen Brimijoin, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher on the team. “This means we should be able to stop the insect without harming other animals or humans because the target we’re hitting is selective to the aphid.”
The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics has been funding research aimed at disease for five years. This departure shows the broader benefits of modern genomic and molecular science in Minnesota’s top medical research institutions. It also demonstrates a shift from treating or curing patients to preventing diseases through proactively improving environmental health.
Below is an edited youtube video with Dr. Brimijoin talking about the research, and the Minnesota Partnership.