Genetic approaches to pest-management offer hope of long-term self-sustained control or eradication of a target species. These approaches aim to spread a deleterious mutant allele to high frequency in a population, but face the inherent problem that such mutants will likely be removed from the population by natural selection. We therefore propose targeting the eukaryotic telomere length maintenance system for mutation, which has a N-generational delay in the onset of strong negative selection, which may allow the mutant to reach high frequency or fix in the population before causing its eradication. We present analyses based on a simulation study to compare the performance between the telomere-control technique and alternatives such as the sterile insect technique, via population genetics and dynamics modelling.

References

Poster

Pest species are a problem

We propose a novel solution

We test it through modelling

The results are promising

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Introduction

Malaria kills ~700k people annually

Genetic approaches offer hope

Natural selection makes it difficult

Target telomeres to delay selection

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Methods

Simulation with two models

1. General eukaryote model

2. Anopheles gambiae model

Description & assumptions

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Results

Define performance criteria

Exceeds modern alternatives

Under a range of conditions

Albeit with some weaknesses

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Discussion

Can it be engineered/implemented?

How true are the assumptions?

Any other candidate pest species?

What are the next steps?

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