Improving the Phenotypic Properties of the Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) Temperature-Sensitive Lethal Genetic Sexing Strain in Support of Sterile Insect Technique Applications

M. F. Porras, J. S. Meza, E. G. Rajotte, K. Bourtzis and C. Caceres,  Journal of Economic Entomology,  113:2688-2694. 2021.

The genetic sexing strain (GSS) of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann)) Vienna 8(D53-) is based on a male-linked translocation system and uses two selectable markers for male-only production, the white pupae (wp) and the temperature sensitivity lethal (tsl) genes. In this GSS, males emerge from brown pupae and are resistant to high temperatures while females emerge from white pupae, are sensitive to high temperatures. However, double homozygous females (wp tsl/wp tsl) exhibit a slower development rate compared to heterozygous males (wp(+) tsl(+)/wp tsl) during the larval stage, which was attributed to the pleiotropic effects of the tsl gene. We present the first evidence that this slower development is due to a different gene, here namely slow development (sd), which is closely linked to the tsl gene. Taking advantage of recombination phenomena between the two loci, we report the isolation of a novel temperature sensitivity lethal strain using the wp mutation as a morphological marker, which showed faster development (wp tsl FD) during the larval stage and increased in its temperature sensitivity compared with the normal tsl strain. Moreover, the introgression of this novel wp tsl FD combined trait into the Vienna 8(D53-) GSS, resulted in a novel Vienna 8(D53-) FD GSS, where females showed differences in the thermal sensibility, larval development speed, and productivity profiles. The modification of these traits and their impact on the mass rearing of the GSS for sterile insect technique applications are discussed.

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