Paris: Scientists today reported they had unravelled the genetic code of the spider mite, a pest that attacks more than a thousand plant species, including corn, soy, apples, grapes, maize and tomatoes.
A team led by Yves van de Peer of the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology in Belgium, sequenced the DNA of the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae).
The investigation could open insights into how spiders evolved and how they produce their famously strong silk.
It should also open up new strategies for protecting crops from the mite, the scientists hope.
Early analysis has pinpointed genes showing that the (0.04-inch) arthropod can neutralise pesticides as well as poisons that some plants use as a natural defence against predators.
The study appears in the British journal Nature.