Mutant hybrid pest species threatens world

Two of the world's worst pest species have combined into one super-pest.
Two of the world's worst pest species have combined into one super-pest. Photo credit: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Scientists are warning a new mutant pest species has arisen, combining two of the world's worst pest species into one super-pest.

The first is the cotton bollworm, a high destructive pest that damages more than 100 crops, including corn and cotton.

It's managed to develop resistance to all the pesticides used against it, and has spread across Africa, Asia and Europe.

The second pest is the corn earworm, which has a weaker resistance to pesticides and a reduced range.

But the two species have managed to combine into one mutant species, which could have horrific consequences for the world's food supply.

The research results were publicised by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

"A hybrid such as this could go completely undetected should it invade another country," says CSIRO biosecurity risk evaluation and preparedness programme research director Dr Paul De Barro.

"It is critical that we look beyond our own backyard to help fortify Australia's defence and response to biosecurity threats.

"As Australia's national science agency, we are constantly looking for new ways to protect the nation and technology like genome sequencing, is helping to tip the scales in our favour."

Newshub.