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Evaluating the potential of the sterile insect technique for malaria control: relative fitness and mating compatibility between laboratory colonized and a wild population of Anopheles arabiensis from the Kruger National Park, South Africa

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Author(s): Munhenga Givemore | Brooke Basil | Chirwa Tobias | Hunt Richard | Coetzee Maureen | Govender Danny | Koekemoer Lizette

Journal: Parasites & Vectors
ISSN 1756-3305

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 208;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Sterile Insect Technique | Anopheles arabiensis | malaria vector control

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background The successful suppression of a target insect population using the sterile insect technique (SIT) partly depends on the premise that the laboratory insects used for mass rearing are genetically compatible with the target population, that the mating competitiveness of laboratory reared males is at least comparable to that of their wild counterparts, and that mass rearing and sterilization processes do not in themselves compromise male fitness to a degree that precludes them from successfully competing for mates in the wild. This study investigated the fitness and sexual cross-compatibility between samples of field collected and laboratory reared An. arabiensis under laboratory conditions. Results The physiological and reproductive fitness of the MALPAN laboratory strain is not substantially modified with respect to the field population at Malahlapanga. Further, a high degree of mating compatibility between MALPAN and the Malahlapanga population was established based on cross-mating experiments. Lastly, the morphological characteristics of hybrid ovarian polytene chromosomes further support the contention that the MALPAN laboratory colony and the An. arabiensis population at Malahlapanga are genetically homogenous and therefore compatible. Conclusions It is concluded that the presence of a perennial and isolated population of An. arabiensis at Malahlapanga presents a unique opportunity for assessing the feasibility of SIT as a malaria vector control option. The MALPAN laboratory colony has retained sufficient enough measures of reproductive and physiological fitness to present as a suitable candidate for male sterilization, mass rearing and subsequent mass release of sterile males at Malahlapanga in order to further assess the feasibility of SIT in a field setting.
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