Open Field Release of Genetically Engineered Sterile Male Aedes aegypti in Malaysia


BACKGROUND Dengue is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease. In the absence of specific drugs or vaccines, control focuses on suppressing the principal mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, yet current methods have not proven adequate to control the disease. New methods are therefore urgently needed, for example genetics-based sterile-male-release methods. However, this requires that lab-reared, modified mosquitoes be able to survive and disperse adequately in the field. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Adult male mosquitoes were released into an uninhabited forested area of Pahang, Malaysia. Their survival and dispersal was assessed by use of a network of traps. Two strains were used, an engineered 'genetically sterile' (OX513A) and a wild-type laboratory strain, to give both absolute and relative data about the performance of the modified mosquitoes. The two strains had similar maximum dispersal distances (220 m), but mean distance travelled of the OX513A strain was lower (52 vs. 100 m). Life expectancy was similar (2.0 vs. 2.2 days). Recapture rates were high for both strains, possibly because of the uninhabited nature of the site. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE After extensive contained studies and regulatory scrutiny, a field release of engineered mosquitoes was safely and successfully conducted in Malaysia. The engineered strain showed similar field longevity to an unmodified counterpart, though in this setting dispersal was reduced relative to the unmodified strain. These data are encouraging for the future testing and implementation of genetic control strategies and will help guide future field use of this and other engineered strains.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042771

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@inproceedings{Lacroix2012OpenFR, title={Open Field Release of Genetically Engineered Sterile Male Aedes aegypti in Malaysia}, author={Renaud Lacroix and Andrew Robert McKemey and Norzahira Raduan and Lim Kwee Wee and Wong Hong Ming and Teoh Guat Ney and Siti Rahidah A.A. and Sawaluddin Salman and Selvi Subramaniam and Oreenaiza Nordin and Norhaida Hanum A.T. and Chandru Angamuthu and Suria Marlina Mansor and Rosemary Susan Lees and Neil Naish and Sarah Scaife and Pam Gray and Genevi{\`e}ve M. C. Labb{\'e} and Camilla J. Beech and Derric David Nimmo and Luke Alphey and Seshadri S. Vasan and Lee Han Lim and Nazni Wasi A. and Shahnaz Murad}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2012} }