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Development of a Confinable Gene-Drive System in the Human Disease Vector, Aedes aegypti.

By Ming Li, Ting Yang, Nikolay P Kandul, Michelle Bui, Stephanie Gamez, Robyn Raban, Jared Bennett, Héctor Manuel Sánchez Castellanos, Gregory Charles Lanzaro, Hanno Schmidt, Yoosook Lee, John M Marshall, Omar Akbari

Posted 24 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/645440 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.51701)

Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector for many arboviruses that causes yellow fever, dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, increasingly infects millions of people every year. With an escalating burden of infections and the relative failure of traditional control methods, the development of innovative control measures has become of paramount importance. The use of gene drives has recently sparked significant enthusiasm for the genetic control of mosquito populations, however no such system has been developed in Ae. aegypti. To fill this void and demonstrate efficacy in Ae. aegypti, here we develop several CRISPR-based split-gene drives for use in this vector. With cleavage rates up to 100% and transmission rates as high as 94%, mathematical models predict that these systems could spread anti-pathogen effector genes into wild Ae. aegypti populations in a safe, confinable and reversible manner appropriate for field trials and effective for controlling disease. These findings could expedite the development of effector-linked gene drives that could safely control wild populations of Ae. aegypti to combat local pathogen transmission.

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