Evaluation of Transgenic Aedes aegypti L. Strain in India: A Friendly Mosquito

P. B. Patil, K. K. Yadav, S. K. Dasgupta, U. B. Zehr, S. R. Barwale and B. Char,  Genetically Modified and other Innovative Vector Control Technologies,  2021.

Aedes aegypti L. is a primary vector of dengue and is also responsible for transmission of other arboviral diseases including chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika virus worldwide. India is attributed with as much as 34% of the global burden of dengue infection as per the recent reports. It is generally acknowledged controlling the vector population in the environment is the key to effectively curb the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Existing conventional methods for controlling the vector populations are not alone sufficient for reducing populations below disease transmission thresholds and would need integration of innovative strategies. With the advancement in modern biotechnology, scientists have been trying to explore the use of genetically engineered insects for their potential use in area-wide method for vector control. One among such strains being widely tested is OX513A Ae. aegypti strain termed as Friendly™ mosquitoes, a genetically engineered strain with a repressible dominant homozygous lethal gene construct and DsRed2 fluorescent marker gene. Male adults of OX513A strain are intended to suppress the wild population of Ae. aegypti in the released environment by population suppression strategy. The lethal gene renders mating events between OX513A males and wild-type females unsuccessful by passing a copy of gene to all the progeny of mated female adults leading to the death of the progeny during development stages in the absence of repressor antidote tetracycline. This OX513A strain was reviewed and recommended for carefully planned pilot deployment and randomized control trials with epidemiological outcomes to build evidence for routine programmatic use against Ae. aegypti-borne diseases by World Health Organization’s Vector Control Advisory Group in the year 2016. The strain is being tested globally in different countries including India for its efficacy and has been deregulated in Brazil for its use in vector control program. This chapter reviews our research investigations conducted on transgenic OX513A Ae. aegypti strain and its potential for use in dengue vector control in India.

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