Publication date: Available online 3 January 2014Source:Peptides Author(s): Olivier Christiaens , Luc Swevers , Guy Smagghe Over the past decade, RNA interference (RNAi), the sequence-specific suppression of gene expression, has proven very promising for molecular research in many species, including model insects as Tribolium castaneum and Apis mellifera. It showed its usefulness to analyze gene function and its potential to manage pest populations and reduce disease pathogens. However, in several insects, the efficiency of RNAi is low or very variable at best. One of the factors that could influence RNAi efficiency in insects is degradation of dsRNA after administration to the insect. In this paper, we report on the importance of dsRNA breakdown in the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) associated with the absence of an RNAi response upon oral feeding and injection with dsRNA targeting different genes such as the ecdysone hormone receptor and ultraspiracle. In essence, we discovered that both the salivary secretions of aphids and the hemolymph were able to degrade the dsRNA. In parallel, introduction of dsRNA in the aphid body was not able to provoke a response in the expression of the siRNA core machinery genes.