Towards a method for cryopreservation of mosquito vectors of human pathogens

Emily N. Gallichotte, Karen M. Dobos, Gregory D. Ebel, Mary Hagedorn, Jason L. Rasgon, Jason H. Richardson, Timothy T. Stedman, Jennifer P. Barfield

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Mosquito-borne diseases are responsible for millions of human deaths every year, posing a massive burden on global public health. Mosquitoes transmit a variety of bacteria, parasites and viruses. Mosquito control efforts such as insecticide spraying can reduce mosquito populations, but they must be sustained in order to have long term impacts, can result in the evolution of insecticide resistance, are costly, and can have adverse human and environmental effects. Technological advances have allowed genetic manipulation of mosquitoes, including generation of those that are still susceptible to insecticides, which has greatly increased the number of mosquito strains and lines available to the scientific research community. This generates an associated challenge, because rearing and maintaining unique mosquito lines requires time, money and facilities, and long-term maintenance can lead to adaptation to specific laboratory conditions, resulting in mosquito lines that are distinct from their wild-type counterparts. Additionally, continuous rearing of transgenic lines can lead to loss of genetic markers, genes and/or phenotypes. Cryopreservation of valuable mosquito lines could help circumvent these limitations and allow researchers to reduce the cost of rearing multiple lines simultaneously, maintain low passage number transgenic mosquitoes, and bank lines not currently being used. Additionally, mosquito cryopreservation could allow researchers to access the same mosquito lines, limiting the impact of unique laboratory or field conditions. Successful cryopreservation of mosquitoes would expand the field of mosquito research and could ultimately lead to advances that would reduce the burden of mosquito-borne diseases, possibly through rear-and-release strategies to overcome mosquito insecticide resistance. Cryopreservation techniques have been developed for some insect groups, including but not limited to fruit flies, silkworms and other moth species, and honeybees. Recent advances within the cryopreservation field, along with success with other insects suggest that cryopreservation of mosquitoes may be a feasible method for preserving valuable scientific and public health resources. In this review, we will provide an overview of basic mosquito biology, the current state of and advances within insect cryopreservation, and a proposed approach toward cryopreservation of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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