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A review on the progress of sex-separation techniques for sterile insect technique applications against Anopheles arabiensis

Mashatola, Thabo, Ndo, Cyrille, Koekemoer, Lizette L., Dandalo, Leonard C., Wood, Oliver R., Malakoane, Lerato, Poumachu, Yacouba, Lobb, Leanne N., Kaiser, Maria, Bourtzis, Kostas, Munhenga, Givemore
Parasites & vectors 2018 v.11 no.Supplement 2 pp. 646
Anopheles arabiensis, adults, antagonists, blood meal, dieldrin, disease transmission, females, gamma-aminobutyric acid, gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors, genes, hematophagy, insect vectors, insecticide resistance, irradiation, malaria, male sterility, mass rearing, mosquito control, prediction, pupae, sex determination analysis, sterile insect technique, vector control
The feasibility of the sterile insect technique (SIT) as a malaria vector control strategy against Anopheles arabiensis has been under investigation over the past decade. One of the critical steps required for the application of this technique to mosquito control is the availability of an efficient and effective sex-separation system. Sex-separation systems eliminate female mosquitoes from the production line prior to irradiation and field release of sterile males. This is necessary because female mosquitoes can transmit pathogens such as malaria and, therefore, their release must be prevented. Sex separation also increases the efficiency of an SIT programme. Various sex-separation strategies have been explored including the exploitation of developmental and behavioural differences between male and female mosquitoes, and genetic approaches. Most of these are however species-specific and are not indicated for the major African malaria vectors such as An. arabiensis. As there is currently no reliable sex-separation method for An. arabiensis, various strategies were explored in an attempt to develop a robust system that can be applied on a mass-rearing scale. The progress and challenges faced during the development of a sexing system for future pilot and/or large-scale SIT release programmes against An. arabiensis are reviewed here. Three methods of sex separation were examined. The first is the use of pupal size for gender prediction. The second is the elimination of blood-feeding adult females through the addition of an endectocide to a blood meal source. The third is the establishment of a genetic sexing strain (GSS) carrying an insecticide resistance selectable marker (dieldrin-resistance rdl gene and/or other GABA receptor antagonists that can be used as alternative insecticides to dieldrin) or a temperature-sensitive lethal marker.