Dynamics of a combined medea-underdominant population transformation system

Dynamics of a combined medea-underdominant population transformation system
Chaitanya Gokhale, Richard Guy Reeves, Floyd A Reed

Transgenic constructs intended to be stably established at high frequencies in wild popu- lations have been demonstrated to “drive” from low frequencies in experimental insect populations. Link- ing such population transformation constructs to genes which render them unable to transmit pathogens could eventually be used to stop the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue. Generally, population transformation constructs with only a single transgenic drive mechanism have been envisioned. Using a theoretical modelling approach we describe the predicted properties of a construct combining autosomal Medea and underdominant population transformation systems. We show that when combined they can exhibit synergistic properties which in broad circumstances surpass those of the single systems. With combined systems, intentional population transformation and its reversal can be achieved readily. Combined constructs also enhance the capacity to geographically restrict transgenic constructs to targeted populations. It is anticipated that these properties are likely to be of particular value in attracting regulatory approval and public acceptance of this novel technology.

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