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Johns Hopkins researchers discover designer insecticide

Friday - 7/11/2014, 9:02am  ET

WASHINGTON -- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say they have found a new way to target insects in an environmentally safe way.

Assistant Professor Frank Bosmans says researchers extracted toxin from a desert bush spider and found that it reacted differently on insects, according to CBS. The toxin killed some insects, while others experienced no reaction.

The discovery means the toxin could help target pests without harming crops or other beneficial insects.

"You can target the insect species that are damaging to crops, but not the ones who are helping," Bosmans said to CBS.

Now, researchers are working to figure out which other insects are affected by the toxin to hone its use as an insecticide. He says scientists are several years away from designing insecticides specific to certain bug types.

"The major milestone is the proof of principle, and now I hope that other research groups and agricultural companies can use this information, too and speed up the development process," Bosmans said to CBS.

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