SUPPRESSING MOSQUITO POPULATION
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A combination of the radiation-based nuclear sterile insect technique (SIT) with the incompatible insect technique (IIT) has led to the successful suppression of mosquito populations
- As the diseases by spread by the mosquitoes are very dangerous, for the first time, as promising step in the successful suppression of mosquito populations that transmit devastating diseases a combination of the radiation-based nuclear sterile insect technique (SIT) with the incompatible insect technique (IIT).
- The research was carried out by the Researchers at the Sun Yat-sen University with the support of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. This is the leading and coordinating global research in SIT.
- The results of the recent pilot trial in Guangzhou, China, carried out with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, were published recently in the journal “Nature”.
Sterile Insect Technique (SIT):
- It is an environmentally friendly insect pest control method involving the mass-rearing and sterilization of a target pest, followed by the systematic area-wide release of sterile males by air over defined areas.
- The sterile male’s mate with wild females, resulting in no offspring and a declining pest population over time.
- SIT has been successfully used to control a variety of plant and livestock pests such as fruit flies and moths.
- But, its effect on mosquito vector control has been limited due to overcoming several technical challenges with producing and releasing enough sterile males to overwhelm the wild population.
Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT):
The IIT, which involves exposing the mosquitoes to the Wolbachia bacteria, is a promising alternative, but can be undermined by accidental release of females infected with the same Wolbachia strain as the released males.
- In order to address these issues, the researchers combine both the so-called techniques, Incompatible and Sterile Insect Techniques (IIT–SIT) and have succeeded in near elimination of field populations of the world’s most invasive mosquito species, Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito).
- Two hundred million such factory-reared adult males with an artificial triple-Wolbachia infection were released, with prior pupal irradiation of the released mosquitoes to prevent unintentionally released triply infected females from reproducing in the field.
- The method is stated to be cost-effective in comparison with other control strategies. The overall future costs of a fully-operational intervention estimated at $108-163 a hectare per year.
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