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N Biotechnol. 2008 Jun;25(1):76-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Apr 23.

Fluorescent sperm marking to improve the fight against the pest insect Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann; Diptera: Tephritidae).

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia Animale, Universit√† di Pavia, Piazza Botta 9, 27100 Pavia, Italy.


The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) involving area-wide release of mass-reared and sterilized pest insects has proven successful to reduce, control and eradicate economically important pest species, such as the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly). For the efficient application, effective monitoring to assess the number and mating success of the released medflies is essential. Here, we report sperm-specific marking systems based on the spermatogenesis-specific Ceratitis capitata beta2-tubulin (Ccbeta2t) promoter. Fluorescent sperm can be isolated from testes or spermathecae. The marking does not cause general disadvantages in preliminary laboratory competitiveness assays. Therefore, transgenic sperm marking could serve as a major improvement for monitoring medfly SIT programs. The use of such harmless transgenic markers will serve as an ideal initial condition to transfer insect transgenesis technology from the laboratory to field applications. Moreover, effective and easily recognizable sperm marking will make novel studies possible on medfly reproductive biology which will help to further improve SIT programs.

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