Gene-drive suppression of mosquito populations in large cages as a bridge between lab and field

A. Hammond, P. Pollegioni, T. Persampieri, A. North, R. Minuz, A. Trusso, A. Bucci, K. Kyrou, I. Morianou, A. Simoni, T. Nolan, R. Müller and A. Crisanti,  Nature Communications,  12:4589. 2021.

CRISPR-based gene-drives targeting the gene doublesex in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae effectively suppressed the reproductive capability of mosquito populations reared in small laboratory cages. To bridge the gap between laboratory and the field, this gene-drive technology must be challenged with vector ecology.Here we report the suppressive activity of the gene-drive in age-structuredAn. gambiaepopulations in large indoor cages that permit complex feeding and reproductive behaviours.The gene-drive element spreads rapidly through the populations, fully supresses the population within one year and without selecting for resistance to the gene drive. Approximate Bayesian computation allowed retrospective inference of life-history parameters from the large cages and a more accurate prediction of gene-drive behaviour under more ecologically-relevant settings. Generating data to bridge laboratory and field studies for invasive technologies is challenging. Our study represents a paradigm for the stepwise and sound development of vector control tools based on gene-drive.


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