Behavioral ecological aspects of mosquito releases
Frédéric Tripet, firstname.lastname@example.org, University of California Davis, Department of Entomology, University of California Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA
Five decades have past since researchers first attempted to control wild insect populations using genetically modified strains. In mosquitoes, and despite numerous attempts, those efforts have proved largely unsuccessful thereby casting doubt on the feasibility of such control programs. In the following, past attempts at suppressing or transforming wild mosquito populations using genetically modified strains will be reviewed. It can be argued that the prevailing reason for the limited success of such endeavors was a poor understanding of the genetics of mating behavior in relation to colonization and mass-rearing of release-strains, as well as the lack of understanding of the evolution of mating behavior of wild populations following the release of such modified strains.
New programs involving GM mosquitoes carrying refractoriness genes for diseases would circumvent part of those problems by applying soft selection pressures to wild populations rather than the hard selection regime of suppression attempts. Simple simulation models show that releases involving refractory-strains would be far more efficient even when modified mosquitoes do not feature complex non-Mendelien genetic drive mechanisms. However, one of the major determinants of success for genetic transformation projects remains the ‘genetic quality’ of release strains in relation to mating behavior and other fitness related traits. Thus a large research effort is warranted in order to improve colonization, rearing and release strategies, and be able to use the full potential of modern genetic control strategies.
Species 1: Diptera Culicidae Anophelesgambiae Species 2: Diptera Culicidae Culexspp Keywords: malaria-fighting mosquito, behavior