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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Oct;32(10):1243-7.

Re-engineering the sterile insect technique.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.


The mass release of sterile insects (the Sterile Insect Technique, SIT) is a highly effective area-wide method of pest control with a low environmental impact. SIT relies on the sterilization by irradiation of large numbers of insects. This has unavoidable costs in terms of the fitness of the irradiated insects and the financial requirements of constructing and operating the radiation facility. In many cases it is considered important to release only males, but large-scale sex-separation is also problematic. I have proposed that both of these difficulties can be overcome by using engineered strains of insects carrying a dominant, repressible, lethal gene or genetic system. As a proof of principle, my group and others have constructed strains of Drosophila melanogaster with the required genetic properties.

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