Genetic elimination of field-cage populations of Mediterranean fruit flies

Leftwich, Philip T. ORCID:, Koukidou, Martha, Rempoulakis, Polychronis, Gong, Hong-Fei, Zacharopoulou, Antogoni, Fu, Guoliang, Chapman, Tracey, Economopoulos, Aris, Vontas, John and Alphey, Luke (2014) Genetic elimination of field-cage populations of Mediterranean fruit flies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281 (1792). ISSN 0962-8452

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The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly, Ceratitis capitata Wiedemann) is a pest of over 300 fruits, vegetables and nuts. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a control measure used to reduce the reproductive potential of populations through the mass release of sterilized male insects that mate with wild females. However, SIT flies can display poor field performance, due to the effects of mass-rearing and of the irradiation process used for sterilization. The development of female-lethal RIDL (release of insects carrying a dominant lethal) strains for medfly can overcome many of the problems of SIT associated with irradiation. Here, we present life-history characterizations for two medfly RIDL strains, OX3864A and OX3647Q. Our results show (i) full functionality of RIDL, (ii) equivalency of RIDL and wild-type strains for life-history characteristics, and (iii) a high level of sexual competitiveness against both wild-type and wild-derived males. We also present the first proof-of-principle experiment on the use of RIDL to eliminate medfly populations. Weekly releases of OX3864A males into stable populations of wild-type medfly caused a successive decline in numbers, leading to eradication. The results show that genetic control can provide an effective alternative to SIT for the control of pest insects.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was funded in part through a NERC open CASE PhD studentship to T.C. and to Oxitec Ltd. P.T.L. received financial support from Oxitec through the NERC open CASE studentship scheme. © 2014 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: medfly,release of insects carrying a dominant lethal,sterile insect technique
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Biosciences Teaching and Education Research
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2014 13:56
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 23:59
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1372


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