Impact of population age structure on Wolbachia transgene driver efficacy: Ecologically complex factors and release of genetically modified mosquitoes

Jason L. Rasgon, Thomas W. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wolbachia symbionts hold theoretical promise as a way to drive transgenes into insect vector populations for disease prevention. For simplicity, current models of Wolbachia dynamics and spread ignore ecologically complex factors such as the age structure of vector populations and overlapping vector generations. We developed a model including these factors to assess their impact on the process of Wolbachia spread into populations of three mosquito species (Anopheles gambiae, Aedes aegypti and Culex pipiens). Depending on the mosquito species, Wolbachia parameters, released mosquito life stage and initial age structure of the target population, the number of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes that we predict would need to be released ranged from less than the threshold calculated by the simple model to a 10-30-fold increase. Transgenic releases into age-structured populations, which is an expectation for wild mosquitoes, will be difficult and depending on the circumstances may not be economically or logistically feasible due to the large number of infected mosquitoes that must be released. Our results support the perspective that understanding ecological factors is critical for designing transgenic vector-borne disease control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-713
Number of pages7
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Volume34
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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