Applying Insect Genetic Technologies to Mosquito Control

The development and use of genetic technologies in a few mosquito species that are major vectors of human pathogens has been on factor in driving or, more appropriately, reviving interest in using genetics-based strategies to control these insects.

Transgenic technologies have enabled transgenes to be integrated into the germ-line of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, that are lethal under conditions found in nature. Transgenic technologies have enabled variations on this theme as well as the creation of transgenes that promote their own spread within populations.

Tunable endonucleases have been designed and introduced into mosquito genomes that specifically destroy certain chromosomes while at the same time spreading through populations and radically altering sex ratios – eventually leading to population collapse.

Alphey (2014) provides a very cogent review of these and other technologies and their application to mosquito control.

Interestingly some of these genetically modified mosquitoes have been and continue to be tested under field conditions. Alphey brings insight into this process of moving these technologies to the point of application since he was involved in those efforts.

Alphey, L. 2014, Genetic Control of Mosquitoes Annual Review of Entomology
Vol. 59: 205-224 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-ento-011613-162002

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