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Assessing the feasibility of controlling Aedes aegypti with transgenic methods: a model-based evaluation.

  • Author(s): Legros, Mathieu
  • Xu, Chonggang
  • Okamoto, Kenichi
  • Scott, Thomas W
  • Morrison, Amy C
  • Lloyd, Alun L
  • Gould, Fred
  • et al.
Abstract

Suppression of dengue and malaria through releases of genetically engineered mosquitoes might soon become feasible. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying a conditionally lethal transgene have recently been used to suppress local vector populations in small-scale field releases. Prior to releases of transgenic insects on a wider scale, however, most regulatory authorities will require additional evidence that suppression will be effective in natural heterogeneous habitats. We use a spatially explicit stochastic model of an Ae. aegypti population in Iquitos, Peru, along with an uncertainty analysis of its predictions, to quantitatively assess the outcome of varied operational approaches for releases of transgenic strains with conditional death of females. We show that population elimination might be an unrealistic objective in heterogeneous populations. We demonstrate that substantial suppression can nonetheless be achieved if releases are deployed in a uniform spatial pattern using strains combining multiple lethal elements, illustrating the importance of detailed spatial models for guiding genetic mosquito control strategies.

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