Incompatible and sterile insect techniques combined eliminate mosquitoes

X. Zheng, D. Zhang, Y. Li, C. Yang, Y. Wu, X. Liang, Y. Liang, X. Pan, L. Hu, Q. Sun, X. Wang, Y. Wei, J. Zhu, W. Qian, Z. Yan, A. G. Parker, J. R. L. Gilles, K. Bourtzis, J. Bouyer, M. Tang, B. Zheng, J. Yu, J. Liu, J. Zhuang, Z. Hu, M. Zhang, J.-T. Gon,  572,  56-61. 2019.

The radiation-based sterile insect technique (SIT) has successfully suppressed field populations of several insect pest species, but its effect on mosquito vector control has been limited. The related incompatible insect technique (IIT)—which uses sterilization caused by the maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia—is a promising alternative, but can be undermined by accidental release of females infected with the same Wolbachia strain as the released males. Here we show that combining incompatible and sterile insect techniques (IIT–SIT) enables near elimination of field populations of the world’s most invasive mosquito species, Aedes albopictus. Millions of factory-reared adult males with an artificial triple-Wolbachia infection were released, with prior pupal irradiation of the released mosquitoes to prevent unintentionally released triply infected females from successfully reproducing in the field. This successful field trial demonstrates the feasibility of area-wide application of combined IIT–SIT for mosquito vector control.

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