Containing Genetically Modified Insects

Four recently published papers on containment issues concerning genetically modified insects.

1. Recommendations for Laboratory Containment and Management of Gene Drive Systems in Arthropods.  Benedict Mark Q., Burt Austin, Capurro Margareth L., De Barro Paul, Handler Alfred M., Hayes Keith R., Marshall John M., Tabachnick Walter J., and Adelman Zach N.  Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 2018 18 1 , 2 -13

Related imageFrom the abstract: “In addition to providing physical containment, invasive genetic factors require greater attention to strain management, including their distribution and identity confirmation. In this study, we focus on insects containing such factors with recommendations for investigators who are creating them, institutional biosafety committees charged with ensuring safety, funding agencies providing support, those managing insectaries handling these materials who are responsible for containment, and other persons who will be receiving insects—transgenic or not—from these facilities. We give specific examples of efforts to modify mosquitoes for mosquito-borne disease control, but similar considerations are relevant to other arthropods that are important to human health, the environment, and agriculture.”

2. Studies of Transgenic Mosquitoes in Disease-Endemic Countries: Preparation of Containment Facilities.  Quinlan M. Megan, Mutunga James Mutuku, Diabaté Abdoulaye, Namountougou Moussa, Coulibaly Mamadou B., Sylla Lakamy, Kayondo Jonathan, Balyesima Victor, Clark Lorna, Benedict Mark Q., and Raymond Peter. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 2018 18 1 , 21 -30

Arthropod Containment Guidelines. A guidance document for transgenic insects.

From the abstract.  “The preparations of both new-build and renovated facilities are described, including working with local and national regulations regarding land use, construction, and biosafety requirements, as well as international guidance to fill any gaps in regulation. The examples given are for containment categorization at Arthropod Containment Level 2 for initial facility design, classification of wastes, and precautions during shipping. Specific lessons were derived from preparations to evaluate transgenic (non-gene drive) mosquitoes in West and East African countries. Documented procedures and the use of a non-transgenic training strain for trial shipments and culturing were used to develop competence and confidence among the African facility staff, and along the chain of custody for transport. This practical description is offered to support other research consortia or institutions preparing containment facilities and operating procedures in conditions where research on transgenic insects is at an early stage.”

3. Containment Studies of Transgenic Mosquitoes in Disease Endemic Countries: The Broad Concept of Facilities Readiness.  Quinlan M. Megan, Birungi Josephine, Coulibaly Mamadou B., Diabaté Abdoulaye, Facchinelli Luca, Mukabana Wolfgang Richard, Mutunga James Mutuku, Nolan Tony, Raymond Peter, and Traoré Sékou F.  Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 2018 18 1 , 14 -20

Image result for Transgenic mosquito

Transgenic mosquito larvae. Image credit here

From the abstract.  “Experiences to prepare facilities and build international teams for research on transgenic mosquitoes revealed some important organizing themes underlying the concept of “facilities readiness,” or the point at which studies in containment may proceed, in sub-Saharan African settings. First, “compliance” for research with novel or non-native living organisms was defined as the fulfillment of all legislative and regulatory requirements. This is not limited to regulations regarding use of transgenic organisms. Second, the concept of “colony utility” was related to the characteristics of laboratory colonies being produced so that results of studies may be validated across time, sites, and strains or technologies; so that the appropriate candidate strains are moved forward toward field studies. Third, the importance of achieving “defensible science” was recognized, including that study conclusions can be traced back to evidence, covering the concerns of various stakeholders over the long term. This, combined with good stewardship of resources and appropriate funding, covers a diverse set of criteria for declaring when “facilities readiness” has been attained.”

4. Maintaining Quality of Candidate Strains of Transgenic Mosquitoes for Studies in Containment Facilities in Disease Endemic Countries.  Mumford John D., Leach Adrian W., Benedict Mark Q., Facchinelli Luca, and Quinlan M. Megan. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 2018 18 1 , 31 -38

Image result for QualityFrom the abstract.  “The process of identifying and developing good candidate strains requires maintenance of transgenic colonies over many generations in containment facilities. By working in disease endemic countries with target vector populations, laboratory strains may be developed and selected for properties that will enhance intended control efficacy in the next phase, while avoiding traits that introduce unnecessary risks. Candidate strains aiming toward field use must consistently achieve established performance criteria, throughout the process of scaling up from small study colonies to production of sufficient numbers for field testing and possible open release. Maintenance of a consistent quality can be demonstrated by a set of insect quality and insectary operating indicators, measured over time at predetermined intervals.”



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