Enhancing the stability and ecological safety of mass-reared transgenic strains for field release by redundant conditional lethality systems

Insect Science
Alfred M Handler


The genetic manipulation of agriculturally important insects now allows the development of genetic sexing and male sterility systems for more highly efficient biologically-based population control programs, most notably the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), for both plant and animal insect pests. Tetracycline-suppressible (Tet-off) conditional lethal systems may function together so that transgenic strains will be viable and fertile on a tetracycline-containing diet, but female-lethal and male sterile in tetracycline-free conditions. This would allow their most efficacious use in a unified system for sterile male-only production for SIT. A critical consideration for the field release of such transgenic insect strains, however, is a determination of the frequency and genetic basis of lethality revertant survival. This will provide knowledge essential to evaluating the genetic stability of the lethality system, its environmental safety, and provide the basis for modifications ensuring optimal efficacy. For Tet-off lethal survival determinations, development of large-scale screening protocols should also allow the testing of these modifications, and test the ability of other conditional lethal systems to fully suppress propagation o...Continue Reading


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Tetracycline Antibiotics
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