Assessment of fitness and vector competence of a New Caledonia wMel Aedes aegypti strain before field-release

N. Pocquet, O. O’Connor, H. A. Flores, J. Tutagata, M. Pol, D. J. Hooker, C. Inizan, S. Russet, J. M. Duyvestyn, E. C. Pacidônio, D. Girault, D. da Silva Gonçalves, M. Minier, F. Touzain, E. Chalus, K. Lucien, F. Cheilan, T. Derycke, S. Laumond, C. P. Sim,  PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases,  15:e0009752. 2021.

Dengue represents a risk for almost half of the world’s population, especially throughout the tropics. In New Caledonia, dengue outbreaks have become more frequent in the past decade along with the recent circulation of chikungunya and Zika viruses. The opportunity to use the biocontrol method involving the release of Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes has been investigated as an alternative solution to the traditional control methods, like elimination of larval habitats and pyrethroid insecticide application to kill adults, which are becoming insufficient. A local strain of Ae. aegypti carrying Wolbachia (NC-wMel) has been generated and tested to evaluate its pathogen blocking capacity for the four dengue virus serotypes as well as chikungunya and Zika viruses. The fitness of NC-wMel strain has also been assessed to estimate its ability to compete with the wild-type strain in the field. Noumea city, where a third of the population of New Caledonia resides, has been chosen as the first site to implement the method in New Caledonia. As Ae. aegypti is the only proven vector in New Caledonia, we expect a significant impact on dengue outbreaks occurring in Noumea as soon as a high frequency of NC-wMel is established in the population.

More related to this;

Selected lines of Aedes aegypti with persistently distorted sex ratios

Cytogenetic analysis of meiotic drive in mosquito, Aedes aegypti

Mechanisms of sex determination and transmission ratio distortion in Aedes aegypti

Catch me if you can: A spatial model for a brake-driven gene drive reversal

Centromere-associated female meiotic drive entails male fitness costs in Monkeyflowers