Transposable element insertion location bias and the dynamics of gene drive in mosquito populations

Rasgon, JLG, F.,  Insect Molecular Biology,  14:493-500. 2005.

Some vector-borne disease control strategies using transgenic mosquitoes require transgene spread to high frequency in populations. Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA sequences that replicate and transpose within the genomes of other organisms and may therefore be represented in the next generation in higher frequencies than predicted by Mendelian segregation. This over-representation has allowed some TEs to spread through natural populations. Transgenes incorporated within a TE sequence are expected to be driven into populations as long as there is a positive balance between fitness costs and over-representation. Models have been used to examine parameters that affect this balance but did not take into account biased insertion of TEs to linked sites in the genome. A simulation model was created to examine the impact of insertion bias on TE spread in mosquito populations. TEs that induce no fitness costs are predicted to increase in frequency over a wide range of parameter values but spread is slower for lower levels of transposition and non-local movement. If TEs are costly, high proportions of local movement can slow or halt spread. To function as a robust transgene drive mechanism a TE should replicate and transpose > 10%/insert/generation, induce < 1% fitness cost/insert, and move preferentially to unlinked sites in the genome.