Insect pests are responsible for substantial crop losses worldwide through direct damage and transmission of plant diseases, and novel approaches that complement or replace broad-spectrum chemical insecticides will facilitate the sustainable intensification of food production in the coming decades. Multiple strategies for improved crop resistance to insect pests, especially strategies relating to plant secondary metabolism and immunity and microbiome science, are becoming available. Recent advances in metabolic engineering of plant secondary chemistry offer the promise of specific toxicity or deterrence to insect pests; improved understanding of plant immunity against insects provides routes to optimize plant defenses against insects; and the microbiomes of insect pests can be exploited, either as a target or as a vehicle for delivery of insecticidal agents. Implementation of these advances will be facilitated by ongoing advances in plant breeding and genetic technologies.


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