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A Synthetic Maternal-Effect Selfish Genetic Element Drives Population Replacement in Drosophila

Science  27 Apr 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5824, pp. 597-600
DOI: 10.1126/science. 1138595

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Abstract

One proposed strategy for controlling the transmission of insect-borne pathogens uses a drive mechanism to ensure the rapid spread of transgenes conferring disease refractoriness throughout wild populations. Here, we report the creation of maternal-effect selfish genetic elements in Drosophila that drive population replacement and are resistant to recombination-mediated dissociation of drive and disease refractoriness functions. These selfish elements use microRNA-mediated silencing of a maternally expressed gene essential for embryogenesis, which is coupled with early zygotic expression of a rescuing transgene.

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