Male mating competitiveness of a Wolbachia-introgressed Aedes polynesiensis strain under semi-field conditions

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Abstract

Background: Lymphatic filariasis (LF), a global public health problem affecting approximately 120 million people worldwide, is a leading cause of disability in the developing world including the South Pacific. Despite decades of ongoing mass drug administration (MDA) in the region, some island nations have not yet achieved the threshold levels of microfilaremia established by the World Health Organization for eliminating transmission. Previously, the generation of a novel Aedes polynesiensis strain (CP) infected with an exogenous type of Wolbachia has been described. The CP mosquito is cytoplasmically incompatible (i.e., effectively sterile) when mated with wildtype mosquitoes, and a strategy was proposed for the control of A. polynesiensis populations by repeated, inundative releases of CP males to disrupt fertility of wild females. Such a strategy could lead to suppression of the vector population and subsequently lead to a reduction in the transmission of filarial worms. Methodology/Principal Findings: CP males and F1 male offspring from wild-caught A. polynesiensis females exhibit near equal mating competitiveness with F1 females under semi-field conditions. Conclusions/Significance: While laboratory experiments are important, prior projects have demonstrated the need for additional testing under semi-field conditions in order to recognize problems before field implementation. The results reported here from semi-field experiments encourage forward progression toward small-scale field releases.

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Chambers, E. W., Hapairai, L., Peel, B. A., Bossin, H., & Dobson, S. L. (2011). Male mating competitiveness of a Wolbachia-introgressed Aedes polynesiensis strain under semi-field conditions. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 5(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0001271

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