The use of driving endonuclease genes to suppress mosquito vectors of malaria in temporally variable environments

Lambert, BN, Ace; Burt, Austin; Godfray, H. Charles J.,  Malaria Journal,  17:154. 2018.

The use of gene drive systems to manipulate populations of malaria vectors is currently being investigated as a method of malaria control. One potential system uses driving endonuclease genes (DEGs) to spread genes that impose a genetic load. Previously, models have shown that the introduction of DEG-bearing mosquitoes could suppress or even extinguish vector populations in spatially-heterogeneous environments which were constant over time. In this study, a stochastic spatially-explicit model of mosquito ecology is combined with a rainfall model which enables the generation of a variety of daily precipitation patterns. The model is then used to investigate how releases of a DEG that cause a bias in population sex ratios towards males are affected by seasonal or random rainfall patterns. The parameters of the rainfall model are then fitted using data from Bamako, Mali, and Mbita, Kenya, to evaluate release strategies in similar climatic conditions.