McArthur, CC, Meredith, JM and Eggleston, P (2014) Transgenic Anopheles gambiae expressing an antimalarial peptide suffer no significant fitness cost. PLoS One, 9 (2). e88625 - ?. ISSN 1932-6203

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Mosquito-borne diseases present some of the greatest health challenges faced by the world today. In many cases, existing control measures are compromised by insecticide resistance, pathogen tolerance to drugs and the lack of effective vaccines. In light of these difficulties, new genetic tools for disease control programmes, based on the deployment of genetically modified mosquitoes, are seen as having great promise. Transgenic strains may be used to control disease transmission either by suppressing vector populations or by replacing susceptible with refractory genotypes. In practice, the fitness of the transgenic strain relative to natural mosquitoes will be a critical determinant of success. We previously described a transgenic strain of Anopheles gambiae expressing the Vida3 peptide into the female midgut following a blood-meal, which exhibited significant protection against malaria parasites. Here, we investigated the fitness of this strain relative to non-transgenic controls through comparisons of various life history traits. Experiments were designed, as far as possible, to equalize genetic backgrounds and heterogeneity such that fitness comparisons focussed on the presence and expression of the transgene cassette. We also employed reciprocal crosses to identify any fitness disturbance associated with inheritance of the transgene from either the male or female parent. We found no evidence that the presence or expression of the effector transgene or associated fluorescence markers caused any significant fitness cost in relation to larval mortality, pupal sex ratio, fecundity, hatch rate or longevity of blood-fed females. In fact, fecundity was increased in transgenic strains. We did, however, observe some fitness disturbances associated with the route of inheritance of the transgene. Maternal inheritance delayed male pupation whilst paternal inheritance increased adult longevity for both males and unfed females. Overall, in comparison to controls, there was no evidence of significant fitness costs associated with the presence or expression of transgenes in this strain.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mosquitoes, Larvae, Fecundity, Inbreeding, Infectious disease control, Inbred strains, Physiological parameters, Death rates
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2015 15:32
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 14:36

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