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Engineering the genomes of wild insect populations: Challenges, and opportunities provided by synthetic Medea selfish genetic elements

Hay, Bruce A. and Chen, Chun-Hong and Ward, Catherine M. and Huang, Haixia and Su, Jessica T. and Guo, Ming (2010) Engineering the genomes of wild insect populations: Challenges, and opportunities provided by synthetic Medea selfish genetic elements. Journal of Insect Physiology, 56 (10). pp. 1402-1413. ISSN 0022-1910. PMCID PMC3601555. doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.05.022.

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Advances in insect transgenesis and our knowledge of insect physiology and genomics are making it possible to create transgenic populations of beneficial or pest insects that express novel traits. There are contexts in which we may want the transgenes responsible for these traits to spread so that all individuals within a wild population carry them, a process known as population replacement. Transgenes of interest are unlikely to confer an overall fitness benefit on those who carry them. Therefore, an essential component of any population replacement strategy is the presence of a drive mechanism that will ensure the spread of linked transgenes. We discuss contexts in which population replacement might be desirable and the requirements a drive system must satisfy to be both effective and safe. We then describe the creation of synthetic Medea elements, the first selfish genetic elements synthesized de novo, with the capability of driving population replacement, in this case in Drosophila. The strategy used to create Drosophila Medea is applicable to a number of other insect species and the Medea system satisfies key requirements for scientific and social acceptance. Finally, we highlight several challenges to implementing population replacement in the wild.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Additional Information:© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Received 17 February 2010; revised 26 May 2010; accepted 27 May 2010. Available online 9 June 2010. This work was supported by grants to BAH (DP1 OD003878) and MG (5K02AG031915-02; 5RO1AG033410-02; 5RO1NS048396-05) from the NIH, and to C-H. Chen from the Caltech Moore Foundation Center for Biological Circuit Design. We appreciate comments from several anonymous reviewers.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHDP1 OD003878
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Selfish genetic element, Mosquito, Malaria, Dengue, Pest Medea, Population replacement, Maternal
Issue or Number:10
PubMed Central ID:PMC3601555
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100824-112026353
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:19632
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Aug 2010 00:45
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:53

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