Population dynamics of an endogenous meiotic drive system in Aedes aegypti in Trinidad

Cha, SJC, D. D.; Severson, D. W.,  American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,  75:70-77. 2006.

An endogenous meiotic drive system was previously reported to be segregating in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L. (Diptera: Culicidae) population in Trinidad. The meiotic driver (M-D) is tightly linked to the male determining locus and selectively targets sensitive responders linked to the female determining allele, causing fragmentation of female gametes. This results in highly male-biased progeny. The M-D system was initially studied as a genetic tool for population control with limited success, but recently interest has focused on its potential for population replacement. This study examines the distribution and dynamics of the M-D system in Trinidad natural populations. We obtained ovitrap samples from seven geographically distinct regions and determined the allele frequencies of the driver (M-D) and sensitive (m(s)) versus insensitive (m(i)) responders, respectively. Frequencies of the M-D allele ranged from 0.1 to 0.5 and were low at the two major port cities, Port of Spain and San Fernando, suggesting the effects of frequent immigration by non-driving genotypes. Frequencies of the m(i) allele ranged from 0.4 to 0.7, suggesting the effects of strong selection by the driver. In addition, our results show that the driver and sensitivity of responders in the Trinidad populations are highly polymorphic. Continued studies of the dynamics of the M-D system in natural populations are critical to considerations of its use in population replacement.