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Genomic and Physiological Strategies for Ommatissus lybicus de Bergevin (Dubas Bug) on Date Palm (Phoenix Dactylifera) in Oman

Key personals:  Abdul Latif Khan (Uni of Houston), Ahmed Al-Harrasi, Ahmed Al-Rawahi, Sajjad Asaf (University of Nizwa)

Dubas bug has been a known hazardous pest of the date palm. The pest attack has considerably devastated many date palm gardens in Pakistan, Iraq, UAE, Iran, and Oman. Although pesticide-based strategies have enabled control of the pest, however, currently the least information is available on the physiology and genomics of Dubas bug attacks on the date palm. The current project aims at understanding the genome of the Dubas bug through adopting next-generation sequencing approaches and identifying vulnerable targets for site-specific pest growth inhibitors. Further to this, there is scant literature and understanding available to elucidate the mechanisms of underlying physio-chemo-molecular signaling involved during pest infection on date palm trees. The project will enable to generation of basic scientific data for breeders to look for attack resistance traits development and pesticide industries to develop more effective and targeted bug growth inhibitors. The data obtained through genomic and transcriptomic studies will pave a way for future applied research on Dubas bug control and improving date palm physiology.