A cage replacement experiment involving introduction of genes for refractoriness to Plasmodium-yoelii-nigeriensis into a population of Anopheles gambiae (Diptera, Culicidae)

P. M. Graves and C. F. Curtis,  Journal of Medical Entomology,  19:127-133. 1982.

A caged population of Anopheles gambiae was allowed to breed continuously and samples of the progeny were tested for susceptibility to Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis. Males of a strain partially refractory to this parasite were released into the population for an 18-wk period. The susceptibility of the population declined from 100% to about 50% and remained at that level for several months after releases were terminated. Separate experiments showed that the fitness of the adult males and larvae of the refractory strain was much less than that of the susceptible caged strain. The observed change in the susceptibility of the caged population was compared with the expectations on various assumptions about the relative fitness of the refractory and susceptible strains. It appears that initially the efficiency of the replacement process was considerably reduced because of poor fitness of the refractory strain. Once the refractoriness genes were in the caged population, however, they were able to recombine with the genes causing poor fitness and the latter could be eliminated by natural selection, leaving a considerable degree of refractoriness in the population. The results are discussed in relation to the possibility of vector control by the release of males from a refractory strain and with particular reference to the advantages and disadvantages of the use of a negatively heterotic system to assist the replacement process and the release of both sexes.