Targeting female flight for genetic control of mosquitoes

D. Navarro-Payá, I. Flis, M. A. E. Anderson, P. Hawes, M. Li, O. S. Akbari, S. Basu and L. Alphey,  PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases,  14:e0008876. 2020.

Author summary The yellow fever mosquito and the Southern house mosquito are important vectors of infectious diseases. Given their widespread presence across tropical and subtropical regions of the world and the increased risk of spread due to global warming there is a growing need for population control. Gene drives aim to spread a genetic element within target genes required for mosquito reproduction to disrupt their function and crash a population. Female-specific genes provide interesting candidates for population control since female mosquitoes determine the reproductive capacity of a population as well as being the actual vectors of disease. Here we describe a study on Actin-4 loss in both Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus, where we observe female-specific disruption of flight ability and propose it as a candidate for genetic methods of population suppression.

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