Sterile Insect Technique

pp 269-296

Sterile Insect Quality

  • C. O. CalkinsAffiliated withYakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, USDA/ARS/PWA
  • , A. G. ParkerAffiliated withFAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory

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The sterile insect technique (SIT) depends greatly on the production of good quality sterile male insects that are released into target wild populations. Quality is assured through a system of bioassays of quality parameters that reflect the insect’s ability to survive, interact with its environment, and locate, mate and fertilize females of the target population. The system was developed by compartmentalizing the essential survival and mating behaviours of the species involved, and then developing a series of tests to confirm that these behavioural traits are present in the mass-reared insects. The system also has a feedback loop to correct problems in the production portion of the system before they become evident. Nevertheless, regular implementation of field or field-cage tests under semi-natural conditions, where sterile males have to compete with wild males for wild females, is required to provide the ultimate assurance that the sterile insects have the ability to fulfil their mission after release.