Developing transgenic Anopheles mosquitoes for the sterile insect technique
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- Nolan, T., Papathanos, P., Windbichler, N. et al. Genetica (2011) 139: 33. doi:10.1007/s10709-010-9482-8
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In the last 10 years the availability of the genome sequence of Anopheles gambiae and the development of a transgenic technology for several species of Anopheles mosquitoes have, in combination, helped in enabling us to gain several insights into the biology of these mosquitoes that is relevant to their capacity as vectors of the malaria parasite. While this information is anticipated to inform many novel vector control strategies, the technique most likely to benefit in the near future from the availability of a reliable transgenic technology is the sterile insect technique (SIT), which relies on releasing large numbers of sterile insects to compete for mates in the wild, leading to population suppression. Although SIT has been proven to work reliably for many insects, the construction of suitable strains, and induction of sterility, has until now been a laborious process, combining classical genetics with radiation-induced sterility. Using transgenesis to create strains of Anopheles suitable for SIT could potentially offer several advantages over current approaches, in that the basic design of transgenic constructs designed for other insects should be rapidly transferable to mosquitoes, and induction of sterility as a product of the transgenic modification could obviate the requirement for radiation and its associated deleterious effects. In this paper the progress of different transgenic approaches in constructing tools for SIT will be reviewed.