Next-generation genetic sexing strain establishment in the agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata

S. Davydova, J. Liu, N. Kandul, P., W. E. Braswell, O. Akbari, S. and A. Meccariello,  bioRxiv,  2023.09.29.560088. 2023.

Tephritid fruit fly pests pose an increasing threat to the agricultural industry due to their global dispersion and a highly invasive nature. Here we showcase the feasibility of an early-detection SEPARATOR sex sorting approach through using the non-model Tephritid pest, Ceratitis capitata. This system relies on female-only fluorescent marker expression, accomplished through the use of a sex-specific intron of the highly-conserved transformer gene from C. capitata and Anastrepha ludens. The herein characterized strains have 100% desired phenotype outcomes, allowing accurate male-female separation during early development. Overall, we describe an antibiotic and temperature-independent sex-sorting system in C. capitata, which, moving forward, may be implemented in other non-model Tephritid pest species. This strategy can facilitate the establishment of genetic sexing systems with endogenous elements exclusively, which, on a wider scale, can improve pest population control strategies like sterile insect technique.Competing Interest StatementO.S.A is a founder of Agragene, Inc. and Synvect, Inc. with equity interest. N.P.K is a founder of Synvect, Inc. with equity interest. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by the University of California, San Diego in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies. All other authors declare no competing interests

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