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Engineered Underdominance as a Method of Insect Population Replacement and Reproductive Isolation


Basalova Buchman, Anna (2014) Engineered Underdominance as a Method of Insect Population Replacement and Reproductive Isolation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/3YMP-DB79.


Insect vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever (both spread by mosquito vectors), continue to significantly impact health worldwide, despite the efforts put forth to eradicate them. Suppression strategies utilizing genetically modified disease-refractory insects have surfaced as an attractive means of disease control, and progress has been made on engineering disease-resistant insect vectors. However, laboratory-engineered disease refractory genes would probably not spread in the wild, and would most likely need to be linked to a gene drive system in order to proliferate in native insect populations. Underdominant systems like translocations and engineered underdominance have been proposed as potential mechanisms for spreading disease refractory genes. Not only do these threshold-dependent systems have certain advantages over other potential gene drive mechanisms, such as localization of gene drive and removability, extreme engineered underdominance can also be used to bring about reproductive isolation, which may be of interest in controlling the spread of GMO crops. Proof-of-principle establishment of such drive mechanisms in a well-understood and studied insect, such as Drosophila melanogaster, is essential before more applied systems can be developed for the less characterized vector species of interest, such as mosquitoes. This work details the development of several distinct types of engineered underdominance and of translocations in Drosophila, including ones capable of bringing about reproductive isolation and population replacement, as a proof of concept study that can inform efforts to construct such systems in insect disease vectors.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Gene drive, engineered underdominance, translocations, reproductive isolation
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Biology and Biological Engineering
Major Option:Biology
Awards:Lawrence L. and Audrey W. Ferguson Prize, 2014
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hay, Bruce A.
Thesis Committee:
  • Zinn, Kai George (chair)
  • Sternberg, Paul W.
  • Aravin, Alexei A.
  • Hay, Bruce A.
Defense Date:28 May 2014
Non-Caltech Author Email:abbuchman5 (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05262014-104457839
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8393
Deposited By: Anna Basalova Buchman
Deposited On:22 Sep 2015 22:59
Last Modified:28 Feb 2023 17:49

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