Insect Population Control Using a Dominant, Repressible, Lethal Genetic System

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Science  31 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5462, pp. 2474-2476
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5462.2474

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A major modification to the sterile insect technique is described, in which transgenic insects homozygous for a dominant, repressible, female-specific lethal gene system are used. We demonstrate two methods that give the required genetic characteristics in an otherwise wild-type genetic background. The first system uses a sex-specific promoter or enhancer to drive the expression of a repressible transcription factor, which in turn controls the expression of a toxic gene product. The second system uses non–sex-specific expression of the repressible transcription factor to regulate a selectively lethal gene product. Both methods work efficiently inDrosophila melanogaster, and we expect these principles to be widely applicable to more economically important organisms.

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