CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of female-biased genes AeAct-4 or myo-fem in Ae. aegypti results in a flightless phenotype in female, but not male mosquitoes

S. O’Leary and Z. N. Adelman,  PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases,  14:e0008971. 2020.

Aedes aegypti is the most important vector of arboviruses throughout the world, and new strategies are urgently needed to add to our existing arsenal of control methods to prevent or halt disease transmission. Importantly, only female Ae. aegypti mosquitoes transmit arboviruses due to their need for vertebrate blood to support egg production. Here, we identify several genes that are critical only for female mosquito flight; genetic ablation of each gene resulted in flightless females, but flying males. Importantly, the female flightless phenotype was completely penetrant (100%), and the use of sex-biased flight muscle proteins appeared to be conserved throughout mosquito evolution. These data could be used to support the development of novel genetic control approaches to reduce the number of biting females across a wide range of disease vector species.

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