A perspective on the need and current status of efficient sex separation methods for mosquito genetic control

Philippos Aris Papathanos*, Kostas Bourtzis, Frederic Tripet, Hervé Bossin, Jair Fernandes Virginio, Margareth Lara Capurro, Michelle Cristine Pedrosa, Amadou Guindo, Lakamy Sylla, Mamadou B. Coulibaly, Franck Adama Yao, Patric Stephane Epopa, Abdoulaye Diabate

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Major efforts are currently underway to develop novel, complementary methods to combat mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquito genetic control strategies (GCSs) have become an increasingly important area of research on account of their species-specificity, track record in targeting agricultural insect pests, and their environmentally non-polluting nature. A number of programs targeting Aedes and Anopheles mosquitoes, vectors of human arboviruses and malaria respectively, are currently being developed or deployed in many parts of the world. Operationally implementing these technologies on a large scale however, beyond proof-of-concept pilot programs, is hampered by the absence of adequate sex separation methods. Sex separation eliminates females in the laboratory from male mosquitoes prior to release. Despite the need for sex separation for the control of mosquitoes, there have been limited efforts in recent years in developing systems that are fit-for-purpose. In this special issue of Parasites and Vectors we report on the progress of the global Coordinated Research Program on "Exploring genetic, molecular, mechanical and behavioural methods for sex separation in mosquitoes" that is led by the Insect Pest Control Subprogramme of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture with the specific aim of building efficient sex separation systems for mosquito species. In an effort to overcome current barriers we briefly highlight what we believe are the three main reasons why progress has been so slow in developing appropriate sex separation systems: the availability of methods that are not scalable, the difficulty of building the ideal genetic systems and, finally, the lack of research efforts in this area.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number654
JournalParasites and Vectors
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Gene drive
  • Genetic control
  • Genetic sexing strains
  • Mosquito
  • Sex separation
  • Sexing
  • Sterile insect technique

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