Aedes mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya, are becoming major global health emergencies while old threats, such as yellow fever, are re-emerging. Traditional control methods, which have focused on reducing mosquito populations through the application of insecticides or preventing breeding through removal of larval habitat, are largely ineffective, as evidenced by the increasing global disease burden. Here, we review novel mosquito population reduction and population modification approaches with a focus on control methods based on the release of mosquitoes, including the release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes and strategies to genetically modify the vector, that are currently under development and have the potential to contribute to a reversal of the current alarming disease trends.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Gubler, D. J. & Vasilakis, N. in Arboviruses: Molecular Biology, Evolution and Control (eds Vasilakis, N. & Gubler, D. J.) 1–6 (Caister Academic Press, 2016).
Gubler, D. J. The global emergence/resurgence of arboviral diseases as public health problems. Arch. Med. Res. 33, 330–342 (2002).
Pang, T., Mak, T. K. & Gubler, D. J. Prevention and control of dengue-the light at the end of the tunnel. Lancet Infect. Dis. 17, e79–e87 (2017).
Bhatt, S. et al. The global distribution and burden of dengue. Nature 496, 504–507 (2013). This is a recent report estimating that dengue infections are three times higher than previously estimated by the WHO.
Mayer, S. V., Tesh, R. B. & Vasilakis, N. The emergence of arthropod-borne viral diseases: A global prospective on dengue, chikungunya and zika fevers. Acta Trop. 166, 155–163 (2017).
Bagcchi, S. Looking back at yellow fever in Angola. Lancet Infect. Dis. 17, 269–270 (2017).
Zwizwai, R. Infectious disease surveillance update. Lancet Infect. Dis. 17, 270 (2017).
Bonizzoni, M., Gasperi, G., Chen, X. & James, A. A. The invasive mosquito species Aedes albopictus: current knowledge and future perspectives. Trends Parasitol. 29, 460–468 (2013).
Wilson, A. L. et al. Evidence-based vector control? Improving the quality of vector control trials. Trends Parasitol. 31, 380–390 (2015).
Bowman, L. R., Donegan, S. & McCall, P. J. Is Dengue vector control deficient in effectiveness or evidence?: Systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 10, e0004551 (2016).
Benedict, M. et al. Guidance for contained field trials of vector mosquitoes engineered to contain a gene drive system: recommendations of a scientific working group. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 8, 127–166 (2008).
Hilgenboecker, K., Hammerstein, P., Schlattmann, P., Telschow, A. & Werren, J. H. How many species are infected with Wolbachia? — a statistical analysis of current data. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 281, 215–220 (2008).
Zug, R. & Hammerstein, P. Still a host of hosts for Wolbachia: analysis of recent data suggests that 40% of terrestrial arthropod species are infected. PLoS ONE 7, e38544 (2012).
Teixeira, L., Ferreira, A. & Ashburner, M. The bacterial symbiont Wolbachia induces resistance to RNA viral infections in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Biol. 6, e2 (2008). This study demonstrates that Wolbachia can provide viral protection to D. melanogaster.
Hedges, L. M., Brownlie, J. C., O’Neill, S. L. & Johnson, K. N. Wolbachia and virus protection in insects. Science 322, 702–702 (2008). This study demonstrates that Wolbachia can provide viral protection to D. melanogaster.
Moreira, L. A. et al. A Wolbachia symbiont in Aedes aegypti limits infection with dengue, Chikungunya, and Plasmodium. Cell 139, 1268–1278 (2009). This study shows that Wolbachia can provide pathogen protection to a transinfected A. aegypti host.
Aliota, M. T. et al. The wMel strain of Wolbachia reduces transmission of Chikungunya virus in Aedes aegypti. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 10, e0004677 (2016).
Aliota, M. T., Peinado, S. A., Velez, I. D. & Osorio, J. E. The wMel strain of Wolbachia Reduces Transmission of Zika virus by Aedes aegypti. Scientif. Rep. 6, 28792 (2016).
Dutra, H. L. C. et al. Wolbachia blocks currently circulating Zika virus isolates in Brazilian Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Cell Host Microbe 19, 771–774 (2016). This is the first report that Wolbachia can reduce Zika virus transmission in transinfected A. aegypti.
Kambris, Z., Cook, P. E., Phuc, H. K. & Sinkins, S. P. Immune activation by life-shortening Wolbachia and reduced filarial competence in mosquitoes. Science 326, 134–136 (2009).
Joubert, D. A. & O’Neill, S. L. Comparison of stable and transient Wolbachia infection models in Aedes aegypti to block Dengue and West Nile viruses. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 11, e0005275 (2017).
Blagrove, M. S. C., Arias-Goeta, C., Di Genua, C., Failloux, A.-B. & Sinkins, S. P. A. Wolbachia wMel transinfection in Aedes albopictus is not detrimental to host fitness and inhibits Chikungunya virus. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 7, e2152 (2013).
Blagrove, M. S. C., Arias-Goeta, C., Failloux, A.-B. & Sinkins, S. P. Wolbachia strain wMel induces cytoplasmic incompatibility and blocks dengue transmission in Aedes albopictus. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 109, 255–260 (2012).
Walker, T. et al. The wMel Wolbachia strain blocks dengue and invades caged Aedes aegypti populations. Nature 476, 450–453 (2011).
Ferguson, N. M. et al. Modeling the impact on virus transmission of Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus infection of Aedes aegypti. Sci. Transl Med. 7, 279ra37 (2015). This is a report modelling the impact of Wolbachia-infected A. aegypti mosquitoes on dengue virus transmission.
Dorigatti, I., McCormack, C., Nedjati-Gilani, G. & Ferguson, N. M. Using Wolbachia for Dengue control: insights from modelling. Trends Parasitol. 34, 102–113 (2017).
McMeniman, C. J. et al. Stable introduction of a life-shortening Wolbachia infection into the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Science 323, 141–144 (2009).
Ant, T. H., Herd, C. S., Geoghegan, V., Hoffmann, A. A. & Sinkins, S. P. The Wolbachia strain wAu provides highly efficient virus transmission blocking in Aedes aegypti. PLoS Pathog. 14, e1006815 (2018).
Xi, Z., Khoo, C. C. H. & Dobson, S. L. Wolbachia establishment and invasion in an Aedes aegypti laboratory population. Science 310, 326–328 (2005).
Fraser, J. E. et al. Novel Wolbachia-transinfected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes possess diverse fitness and vector competence phenotypes. PLoS Pathog. 13, e1006751 (2017).
Turelli, M. Cytoplasmic incompatibility in populations with overlapping generations. Evolution 64, 232–241 (2010).
Hoffmann, A. A. et al. Stability of the wMel Wolbachia Infection following invasion into Aedes aegypti populations. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 8, e3115 (2014).
[No authors listed.] Eliminate Dengue — Our Challenge. World Mosquito Program http://www.eliminatedengue.com (2018).
Frentiu, F. D. et al. Limited dengue virus replication in field-collected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 8, e2688 (2014).
Servick, K. Winged warriors. Science 354, 164–167 (2016).
[No authors listed.] Dengue outbreaks. Queensland Health https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/diseases/mosquito-borne/dengue/dengue-outbreaks (2018).
Kolopack, P. A., Parsons, J. A. & Lavery, J. V. What makes community engagement effective?: Lessons from the Eliminate Dengue Program in Queensland Australia. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 9, e0003713 (2015).
De Barro, P. J., Murphy, B., Jansen, C. C. & Murray, J. The proposed release of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti containing a naturally occurring strain of Wolbachia pipientis, a question of regulatory responsibility. J. Verbraucherschutz Lebensmittelsicherheit 6, 33–40 (2011).
Murray, J. V., Jansen, C. C. & De Barro, P. Risk associated with the release of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes into the environment in an effort to control Dengue. Front. Public Health 4, 43 (2016).
Dodson, B. L. et al. Wolbachia enhances West Nile virus (WNV) infection in the mosquito Culex tarsalis. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 8, e2965 (2014).
Joubert, D. A. et al. Establishment of a Wolbachia superinfection in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as a potential approach for future resistance management. PLoS Pathog. 12, e1005434 (2016).
Glaser, R. L. & Meola, M. A. The native Wolbachia endosymbionts of Drosophila melanogaster and Culex quinquefasciatus increase host resistance to West Nile virus infection. PLoS ONE 5, e11977 (2010).
Micieli, M. V. & Glaser, R. L. Somatic Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) levels in Culex quinquefasciatus and Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) and resistance to West Nile virus infection. J. Med. Entomol. 51, 189–199 (2014).
Hughes, G. L., Vega-Rodriguez, J., Xue, P. & Rasgon, J. L. Wolbachia strain wAlbB enhances infection by the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 78, 1491–1495 (2012).
Murdock, C. C., Blanford, S., Hughes, G. L., Rasgon, J. L. & Thomas, M. B. Temperature alters Plasmodium blocking by Wolbachia. Sci. Rep. 4, 3932 (2014).
Hughes, G. L., Rivero, A. & Rasgon, J. L. Wolbachia can enhance Plasmodium infection in mosquitoes: implications for malaria control? PLoS Pathog. 10, e1004182 (2014).
Shaw, W. R. et al. Wolbachia infections in natural Anopheles populations affect egg laying and negatively correlate with Plasmodium development. Nat. Commun. 7, 11772 (2016).
Gomes, F. M. et al. Effect of naturally occurring Wolbachia in Anopheles gambiae s.l. mosquitoes from Mali o nPlasmodium falciparum malaria transmission. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, 12566–12571 (2017).
Zélé, F. et al. Wolbachia increases susceptibility to Plasmodium infection in a natural system. Proc. Biol. Sci. 281, 20132837–20132837 (2014).
Vavre, F., Fleury, F., Lepetit, D., Fouillet, P. & Boulétreau, M. Phylogenetic evidence for horizontal transmission of Wolbachia in host-parasitoid associations. Mol. Biol. Evol. 16, 1711–1723 (1999).
Ahmed, M. Z., Breinholt, J. W. & Kawahara, A. Y. Evidence for common horizontal transmission of Wolbachia among butterflies and moths. BMC Evol. Biol. 16, 118 (2016).
Popovici, J. et al. Assessing key safety concerns of a Wolbachia-based strategy to control dengue transmission by Aedes mosquitoes. Memorias Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 105, 957–964 (2010).
Hurst, T. P. et al. Impacts of Wolbachia infection on predator prey relationships: evaluating survival and horizontal transfer between wMelPop infected Aedes aegypti and its predators. J. Med. Entomol. 49, 624–630 (2012).
Hilgenboecker, K., Hammerstein, P., Schlattmann, P., Telschow, A. & Werren, J. H. How many species are infected with Wolbachia? — A statistical analysis of current data. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 281, 215–220 (2008).
McGraw, E. A. & O’Neill, S. L. Beyond insecticides: new thinking on an ancient problem. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 11, 181–193 (2013).
Caragata, E. P. et al. Dietary cholesterol modulates pathogen blocking by Wolbachia. PLoS Pathog. 9, e1003459 (2013).
Rancès, E., Ye, Y. H., Woolfit, M., McGraw, E. A. & O’Neill, S. L. The relative importance of innate immune priming in Wolbachia-mediated dengue interference. PLoS Pathog. 8, e1002548 (2012).
Terradas, G., Joubert, D. A. & McGraw, E. A. The RNAi pathway plays a small part in Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus in mosquito cells. Sci. Rep. 7, 43847 (2017).
Black, W. C., Alphey, L. & James, A. A. Why RIDL is not SIT. Trends Parasitol. 27, 362–370 (2011).
Weidhaas, D. E., Breeland, S. G., Lofgren, C. S., Dame, D. A. & Kaiser, R. Release of chemosterilized males for the control of Anopheles albimanus in El Salvador. IV. Dynamics of the test population. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 23, 298–308 (1974).
Dame, D. A. et al. Release of chemosterilized males for the control of Anopheles albimanus in El Salvador. II. Methods of rearing, sterilization, and distribution. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 23, 282–287 (1974).
Boyer, S., Gilles, J., Merancienne, D., Lemperiere, G. & Fontenille, D. Sexual performance of male mosquito Aedes albopictus. Med. Vet. Entomol. 25, 454–459 (2011).
International Atomic Energy Agency Office of Public Information and Communication. IAEA Factsheet: The Zika Virus Mosquitoes: How can the sterile insect technique help? IAEA https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/16/11/zika-virus-mosquitos-how-can-sterile-insect-technique-help.pdf (2017).
Bellini, R. et al. Dispersal and survival of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) males in Italian urban areas and significance for sterile insect technique application. J. Med. Entomol. 47, 1082–1091 (2010).
Bellini, R. et al. Mating competitiveness of Aedes albopictus radio-sterilized males in large enclosures exposed to natural conditions. J. Med. Entomol. 50, 94–102 (2013).
Balestrino, F. et al. Gamma ray dosimetry and mating capacity studies in the laboratory on Aedes albopictus males. J. Med. Entomol. 47, 581–591 (2010).
Bellini, R., Medici, A., Puggioli, A., Balestrino, F. & Carrieri, M. Pilot field trials with Aedes albopictus irradiated sterile males in Italian urban areas. J. Med. Entomol. 50, 317–325 (2013). This report describes pilot field trials of SIT in A. albopictus populations in Italy.
Atyame, C. M. et al. Comparison of irradiation and Wolbachia based approaches for sterile-male strategies targeting Aedes albopictus. PLoS ONE 11, e0146834 (2016).
Bourtzis, K. et al. Harnessing mosquito-Wolbachia symbiosis for vector and disease control. Acta Trop, 132 (Suppl.), S150–S163 (2014).
Laven, H. Eradication of Culex pipiens fatigans through cytoplasmic incompatibility. Nature 216, 383–384 (1967).
Chambers, E. W., Hapairai, L., Peel, B. A., Bossin, H. & Dobson, S. L. Male mating competitiveness of a Wolbachia-introgressed Aedes polynesiensis strain under semi-field conditions. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 5, e1271 (2011).
O’Connor, L. et al. Open release of male mosquitoes infected with a wolbachia biopesticide: field performance and infection containment. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 6, e1797 (2012).
Mains, J. W., Brelsfoard, C. L., Rose, R. I. & Dobson, S. L. Female adult Aedes albopictus suppression by Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes. Sci. Rep. 6, 33846 (2016).
Barton, N. H. & Turelli, M. Spatial waves of advance with bistable dynamics: cytoplasmic and genetic analogues of Allee effects. Am. Nat. 178, E48–75 (2011).
Hoffmann, A. A. et al. Successful establishment of Wolbachia in Aedes populations to suppress dengue transmission. Nature 476, 454–457 (2011). This report shows that w Mel Wolbachia can stably invade wild populations of A. aegypti.
Zhang, D., Zheng, X., Xi, Z., Bourtzis, K. & Gilles, J. R. L. Combining the sterile insect technique with the incompatible insect technique: I-impact of wolbachia infection on the fitness of triple- and double-infected strains of Aedes albopictus. PLoS ONE 10, e0121126 (2015).
Brelsfoard, C. L., St Clair, W. & Dobson, S. L. Integration of irradiation with cytoplasmic incompatibility to facilitate a lymphatic filariasis vector elimination approach. Parasit. Vectors 2, 38 (2009).
Zhang, D., Lees, R. S., Xi, Z., Gilles, J. R. L. & Bourtzis, K. Combining the sterile insect technique with Wolbachia-based approaches: II — A safer approach to Aedes albopictus population suppression programmes, designed to minimize the consequences of inadvertent female release. PLoS ONE 10, e0135194 (2015).
Zhang, D., Lees, R. S., Xi, Z., Bourtzis, K. & Gilles, J. R. L. Combining the sterile insect technique with the incompatible insect technique: III — Robust mating competitiveness of irradiated triple Wolbachia-infected Aedes albopictus males under semi-field conditions. PLoS ONE 11, e0151864 (2016).
Wise de Valdez, M. R. et al. Genetic elimination of dengue vector mosquitoes. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 4772–4775 (2011).
Fu, G. et al. Female-specific flightless phenotype for mosquito control. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 4550–4554 (2010).
Heinrich, J. C., Heinrich, J. C., Scott, M. J. & Scott, M. J. A repressible female-specific lethal genetic system for making transgenic insect strains suitable for a sterile-release program. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 97, 8229–8232 (2000).
Labbé, G. M. C., Scaife, S., Morgan, S. A., Curtis, Z. H. & Alphey, L. Female-specific flightless (fsRIDL) phenotype for control of Aedes albopictus. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 6, e1724 (2012).
Phuc, H. K. et al. Late-acting dominant lethal genetic systems and mosquito control. BMC Biol. 5, 11 (2007).
Massonnet-Bruneel, B. et al. Fitness of transgenic mosquito Aedes aegypti males carrying a dominant lethal genetic system. PLoS ONE 8, e62711 (2013).
Bargielowski, I., Nimmo, D., Alphey, L. & Koella, J. C. Comparison of life history characteristics of the genetically modified OX513A line and a wild type strain of Aedes aegypti. PLoS ONE 6, e20699 (2011).
Harris, A. F. et al. Field performance of engineered male mosquitoes. Nat. Biotechnol. 29, 1034–1037 (2011).
Lacroix, R. et al. Open field release of genetically engineered sterile male Aedes aegypti in Malaysia. PLoS ONE 7, e42771 (2012).
Harris, A. F. et al. Successful suppression of a field mosquito population by sustained release of engineered male mosquitoes. Nat. Biotechnol. 30, 828–830 (2012). This report shows that released A. aegypti mosquitoes that were engineered to have dominant lethal alleles can successfully mate with wild-type females to suppress wild populations.
Carvalho, D. O. et al. Suppression of a field population of Aedes aegypti in Brazil by sustained release of transgenic male mosquitoes. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 9, e0003864 (2015).
Bloss, C. S., Stoler, J., Brouwer, K. C., Bietz, M. & Cheung, C. Public response to a proposed field trial of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the United States. JAMA 318, 662–664 (2017).
Burt, A. Site-specific selfish genes as tools for the control and genetic engineering of natural populations. Proc. Biol. Sci. 270, 921–928 (2003).
Traver, B. E., Anderson, M. A. E. & Adelman, Z. N. Homing endonucleases catalyze double-stranded DNA breaks and somatic transgene excision in Aedes aegypti. Insect Mol. Biol. 18, 623–633 (2009).
Windbichler, N. et al. A synthetic homing endonuclease-based gene drive system in the human malaria mosquito. Nature 473, 212–215 (2011).
Chan, Y.-S. et al. The design and in vivo evaluation of engineered I-OnuI-based enzymes for HEG gene drive. PLoS ONE 8, e74254 (2013).
Doudna, J. A. & Charpentier, E. The new frontier of genome engineering with CRISPR-Cas9. Science 346, 1258096 (2014).
Hsu, P. D., Lander, E. S. & Zhang, F. Development and applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering. Cell 157, 1262–1278 (2014).
Gantz, V. M. & Bier, E. Genome editing. The mutagenic chain reaction: a method for converting heterozygous to homozygous mutations. Science 348, 442–444 (2015). This report describes the use of CRISPR–Cas9 as a method of gene drive.
Gantz, V. M. et al. Highly efficient Cas9-mediated gene drive for population modification of the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles stephensi. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, E6736–E6743 (2015).
Hammond, A. et al. A CRISPR-Cas9 gene drive system targeting female reproduction in the malaria mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae. Nat. Biotechnol. 34, 78–83 (2016).
Galizi, R. et al. A CRISPR-Cas9 sex-ratio distortion system for genetic control. Sci. Rep. 6, 31139 (2016).
Unckless, R. L., Clark, A. G. & Messer, P. W. Evolution of resistance against CRISPR/Cas9 gene drive. Genetics 205, 827–841 (2017).
Reed, F. A. CRISPR/Cas9 gene drive: growing pains for a new technology. Genetics 205, 1037–1039 (2017).
Esvelt, K. M., Smidler, A. L., Catteruccia, F. & Church, G. M. Concerning RNA-guided gene drives for the alteration of wild populations. eLife 3, 20131071 (2014).
Akbari, O. S. et al. BIOSAFETY. Safeguarding gene drive experiments in the laboratory. Science 349, 927–929 (2015).
Okumu, F. et al. Results from the Workshop ‘Problem Formulation for the Use of Gene Drive in Mosquitoes’. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 96, 530–533 (2017).
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values (National Academies Press, 2016).
Ritchie, S. A. et al. A secure semi-field system for the study of Aedes aegypti. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 5, e988 (2011).
Nguyen, T. H. et al. Field evaluation of the establishment potential of wMelPop Wolbachia in Australia and Vietnam for dengue control. Parasit. Vectors 8, 563 (2015).
Turelli, M. & Hoffmann, A. A. Rapid spread of an inherited incompatibility factor in California Drosophila. Nature 353, 440–442 (1991).
Kriesner, P., Hoffmann, A. A., Lee, S. F., Turelli, M. & Weeks, A. R. Rapid sequential spread of two Wolbachia variants in Drosophila simulans. PLoS Pathog. 9, e1003607 (2013).
Riegler, M., Sidhu, M., Miller, W. J. & O’Neill, S. L. Evidence for a global Wolbachia replacement in Drosophila melanogaster. Curr. Biol. 15, 1428–1433 (2005).
Schmidt, T. L. et al. Local introduction and heterogeneous spatial spread of dengue-suppressing Wolbachia through an urban population of Aedes aegypti. PLoS Biol. 15, e2001894 (2017).
Crawford, J. Debug Fresno, our first U. S. field study. Verily Life Sciences https://blog.verily.com/2017/07/debug-fresno-our-first-us-field-study.html (2017).
The authors are grateful to M. Woolfit for reviewing the manuscript and acknowledge funding from The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health through the Vector-Based Transmission of Control: Discovery Research (VCTR) program of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust Award No. 102591.
Nature Reviews Microbiology thanks G. Hamer, P. McCall and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
H.A.F. and S.L.O’N. work for the World Mosquito Program.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
- Aedes aegypti
The primary mosquito vector of epidemic transmission for viruses, such as dengue, zika and chikungunya. A. aegypti is prevalent primarily in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and is particularly adapted to urban habitats.
- Sterile insect technique
(SIT). The radiation or chemical treatment of male mosquitoes, which renders them sterile. When they are released in the field and they mate with wild-type females, they cannot produce offspring.
- Incompatible insect technique
(ITT). The release of Wolbachia-infected males, which, when mated with wild-type females that contain no Wolbachia or a different, incompatible strain of Wolbachia, produce no offspring owing to cytoplasmic incompatibility.
- Wolbachia pipientis
A naturally occurring bacterial endosymbiont that is estimated to be present in 40–60% of all insect species. Commonly referred to as just Wolbachia.
A genome-editing tool that was developed from adaptive immune systems found in bacteria and archaea. The system is composed of a nuclease, Cas9 and a guide RNA that targets the nuclease to a specific DNA sequence for cleavage.
- Cytoplasmic incompatibility
(CI). When Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes mate with uninfected females, the resulting progeny die during early embryogenesis. If the female is also infected with the same Wolbachia strain, that infection can rescue the embryonic lethality, resulting in viable progeny.
- Vector competence
A measure of the ability of arthropod vectors to acquire and transmit viruses in their saliva.
Traps designed for the collection of mosquito eggs.
- Homing endonuclease genes
(HEGs). Selfish genetic elements encoding endonucleases that recognize a specific DNA sequence and catalyse a break, which is then naturally repaired through homologous repair.
- Homology-directed repair
(HDR). A repair mechanism of a DNA double-strand break, whereby the homologous chromosome is used as a template for repair.
- Non-homologous end joining
(NHEJ). A repair mechanism for DNA double-strand breaks, whereby the two DNA ends are ligated without the need for a homologous template, often resulting in small indels or the introduction of mutations.
About this article
Cite this article
Flores, H.A., O’Neill, S.L. Controlling vector-borne diseases by releasing modified mosquitoes. Nat Rev Microbiol 16, 508–518 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-018-0025-0
Parasites & Vectors (2021)
Parasites & Vectors (2021)
Parasites & Vectors (2021)
Comparing sterile male releases and other methods for integrated control of the tiger mosquito in temperate and tropical climates
Scientific Reports (2021)
Assessing the acoustic behaviour of Anopheles gambiae (s.l.) dsxF mutants: implications for vector control
Parasites & Vectors (2020)