Impact of transgenic immune deployment on mosquito fitness
Mosquitoes are the vectors of pathogens causing numerous human diseases, including dengue and malaria. Due to increases in drug resistance among pathogens or the lack of effective treatments for these diseases and increasing insecticide resistance among mosquito populations, new methods of control are urgently needed to limit the morbidity and mortality caused by vector-borne diseases. Mosquitoes possess an innate immune system capable of limiting infection with human pathogens, and the creation and deployment of transgenic mosquitoes with an enhanced immune system has been suggested as a novel means to reduce mosquito vector competence. However, activation of the immune system is often associated with a cost to the host, which could limit the ability of the transgenic insects to replace their wild-type conspecifics. Here, we discuss recent research into the effects of increased immune deployment and insect transgenesis on the fitness of the mosquitoes.