Modelling Allee effects in a transgenic mosquito population during range expansion

Walker, MB, Julie C.; Brown, Vicki; Childs, Lauren M.,  Journal of Biological Dynamics,  13:2-22. 2018.

Mosquitoes are vectors for many diseases that cause significant mortality and morbidity. As mosquito populations expand their range, they may undergo mate-finding Allee effects such that their ability to successfully reproduce becomes difficult at low population density. With new technology, creating target specific gene modification may be a viable method for mosquito population control. We develop a mathematical model to investigate the effects of releasing transgenic mosquitoes into newly established, low-density mosquito populations. Our model consists of two life stages (aquatic and adults), which are divided into three genetically distinct groups: heterogeneous and homogeneous transgenic that cause female infertility and a homogeneous wild type. We perform analytical and numerical analyses on the equilibria to determine the level of saturation needed to eliminate mosquitoes in a given area. This model demonstrates the potential for a gene drive system to reduce the spread of invading mosquito populations.