BACKGROUND: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a leading cause of disability in South Pacific regions, where >96% of the 1.7 million population are at risk of LF infection. As part of current global campaign, mass drug administration (MDA) has effectively reduced lymphatic filiariasis prevalence, but mosquito vector biology can complicate the MDA strategy. In some regions, there is evidence that the goal of LF elimination cannot be attained via MDA alone. Obligate vector mosquitoes provide additional targets for breaking the LF transmission cycle, but existing methods are ineffective for controlling the primary vector throughout much of the South Pacific, Aedes polynesiensis.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we demonstrate that interspecific hybridization and introgression results in an A. polynesiensis strain ('CP' strain) that is stably infected with the endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria from Aedes riversi. The CP strain is bi-directionally incompatible with naturally infected mosquitoes, resulting in female sterility. Laboratory assays demonstrate that CP males are equally competitive, resulting in population elimination when CP males are introduced into wild type A. polynesiensis populations.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The findings demonstrate strategy feasibility and encourage field tests of the vector elimination strategy as a supplement to ongoing MDA efforts.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Brelsfoard, Corey L.; Séchan, Yves; and Dobson, Stephen L., "Interspecific Hybridization Yields Strategy for South Pacific Filariasis Vector Elimination" (2008). Entomology Faculty Publications. 58.