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, T. Baldet, J. Bouyer and E. Marois,  bioRxiv,  2022.03.11.483912. 2022.

Chemical control of the mosquito vectors Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti is costly, unsustainable, and increasingly ineffective due to the spread of insecticide resistance. The Sterile Insect Technique is an autocidal control tactic that represents a valuable alternative but is limited by the slow, error-prone, and wasteful sex-separation stage. 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 the isolation of transgenic males. Furthermore, we show how combining these sexing strains allows the production of non-transgenic males. Scaling-up would allow the sorting of 100,000 neonate male larvae in under 1.5 hour with 0.01-0.1% female contamination.

The resulting males present similar survival and flight ability to laboratory-reared wild-type males. By facilitating the sorting of transgenic or non-transgenic males, these Genetic Sexing Strains should enable a major upscaling in control programmes against these major vectors.

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