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A drug-inducible sex-separation technique for insects.

  • Author(s): Kandul, Nikolay P
  • Liu, Junru
  • Hsu, Alexander D
  • Hay, Bruce A
  • Akbari, Omar S
  • et al.

Here, we describe a drug-inducible genetic system for insect sex-separation that demonstrates proof-of-principle for positive sex selection in D. melanogaster. The system exploits the toxicity of commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotics geneticin and puromycin to kill the non-rescued sex. Sex-specific rescue is achieved by inserting sex-specific introns into the coding sequences of antibiotic-resistance genes. When raised on geneticin-supplemented food, the sex-sorter line establishes 100% positive selection for female progeny, while the food supplemented with puromycin positively selects 100% male progeny. Since the described system exploits conserved sex-specific splicing mechanisms and reagents, it has the potential to be adaptable to other insect species of medical and agricultural importance.

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