Cytoplasmic incompatibility: an autocidal mechanism for mosquito population control
Cytoplasmic incompatibility resulting in non-reciprocal fertility is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but remains unexplored to greater extent for the control of insect vector populations. This mechanism deserves priority for mosquito control and reducing disease transmission, being non-insecticidal and easier to operate with minimal investments.
Cytoplasmic incompatibility in mosquitoes
Along with other insect populations of economic importance, the phenomenon of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) has been widely documented in natural mosquito populations of a given species, as well as in closely related species groups. CI restricts gene-flow and results in post-zygotic reproductive isolation and speciation events.
Origin of cytoplasmic incompatibility
The phenomenon of cytoplasmic incompatibility has been ascribed to the presence of intracellular, obligate, maternally inherited rickettsia-like symbiotic microorganisms of the genus Wolbachia. Rendering mosquito larvae free from this infection (aposymbiotic) by treatment with tetracycline restores bidirectional fertility in reciprocal crosses.
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