Insect population control using a dominant, repressible, lethal genetic system

A major modification to the sterile insect technique is described, in which transgenic insects homozygous for a dominant, repressible, female-specific lethal gene system are used. We demonstrate two methods that give the required genetic characteristics in an otherwise wild-type genetic background. The first system uses a sex-specific promoter or enhancer to drive the expression of a repressible transcription factor, which in turn controls the expression of a toxic gene product. The second system uses non-sex-specific expression of the repressible transcription factor to regulate a selectively Lethal gene product. Both methods work efficiently in Drosophila melanogaster, and we expect these principles to be widely applicable to more economically important organisms.

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