Combining two genetic sexing strains allows sorting of non-transgenic males for Aedes genetic control

C. Lutrat, M. Burckbuchler, R. P. Olmo, R. Beugnon, A. Fontaine, O. S. Akbari, R. Argilés-Herrero, T. Baldet, J. Bouyer and E. Marois,  Communications Biology,  6:646. 2023.

Chemical control of disease vectoring mosquitoes Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti is costly, unsustainable, and increasingly ineffective due to the spread of insecticide resistance. The Sterile Insect Technique is a valuable alternative but is limited by slow, error-prone, and wasteful sex-separation methods. Here, we present four Genetic Sexing Strains (two for each Aedes species) based on fluorescence markers linked to the m and M sex loci, allowing for the isolation of transgenic males. Furthermore, we demonstrate how combining these sexing strains enables the production of non-transgenic males. In a mass-rearing facility, 100,000 first instar male larvae could be sorted in under 1.5 h with an estimated 0.01–0.1% female contamination on a single machine. Cost-efficiency analyses revealed that using these strains could result in important savings while setting up and running a mass-rearing facility. Altogether, these Genetic Sexing Strains should enable a major upscaling in control programmes against these important vectors.

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