The Impact of Dissociation on Transposon-Mediated Disease Control Strategies

J. M. Marshall,  Genetics,  178:1673-1682. 2008.

Vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever continue to be a major health concern through much of the world. The emergence of chloroquine-resistant strains of malaria and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes emphasize the need for novel methods of disease control. Recently, there has been much interest in the use of transposable elements to drive resistance genes into vector populations as a means of disease control. One concern that must be addressed before a release is performed is the potential loss of linkage between a transposable element and a resistance gene. Transposable elements such as P and hobo have been shown to produce internal deletion derivatives at a significant rate, and there is concern that a similar process could lead to loss of the resistance gene from the drive system following a transgenic release. Additionally, transposable elements such as Himar1 have been shown to transpose significantly more frequently when free of exogenous DNA. Here, we show that any transposon-mediated gene drive strategy must have an exceptionally low rate of dissociation if it is to be effective. Additionally, the resistance gene must confer a large selective advantage to the vector to surmount the effects of a moderate dissociation rate and transpositional handicap.

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