Journal of medical entomology

Anopheles arabiensis sperm production after genetic manipulation, dieldrin treatment, and irradiation.

PMID 23540119


The use of the sterile insect technique relies on the release of sterilized mass-reared male insects which, before field releases, endure several unnatural treatments. In the case of Anopheles arabiensis (Patton) sterile insect technique program in Sudan, the genetic background of the original strain was first changed to create a genetic sexing strain that is based on a dieldrin-resistant mutation. Secondly, the eggs of the genetic sexing strain require treatment with dieldrin to allow complete elimination of female L1 larvae to enable the release of males only. Finally, male mosquitoes receive an irradiation dose of 70 Gy as pupae for sterilization. The effects of these treatments on sperm production were tested separately and in combination. Irradiation alone significantly decreased the initial sperm number and prevented new sperm production. However, the dieldrin treatment, aimed at eliminating females, appears to have an unexpected radioprotectant effect.