The Potential for a Released Autosomal X-Shredder Becoming a Driving-Y Chromosome and Invasively Suppressing Wild Populations of Malaria Mosquitoes

Yehonatan Alcalay, Silke Fuchs, Roberto Galizi, Federica Bernardini, Roya Elaine Haghighat-Khah, Douglas B. Rusch, Jeffrey R. Adrion, Matthew W. Hahn, Pablo Tortosa, Rachel Rotenberry, Philippos Aris Papathanos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sex-ratio distorters based on X-chromosome shredding are more efficient than sterile male releases for population suppression. X-shredding is a form of sex distortion that skews spermatogenesis of XY males towards the preferential transmission of Y-bearing gametes, resulting in a higher fraction of sons than daughters. Strains harboring X-shredders on autosomes were first developed in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, resulting in strong sex-ratio distortion. Since autosomal X-shredders are transmitted in a Mendelian fashion and can be selected against, their frequency in the population declines once releases are halted. However, unintended transfer of X-shredders to the Y-chromosome could produce an invasive meiotic drive element, that benefits from its biased transmission to the predominant male-biased offspring and its effective shielding from female negative selection. Indeed, linkage to the Y-chromosome of an active X-shredder instigated the development of the nuclease-based X-shredding system. Here, we analyze mechanisms whereby an autosomal X-shredder could become unintentionally Y-linked after release by evaluating the stability of an established X-shredder strain that is being considered for release, exploring its potential for remobilization in laboratory and wild-type genomes of An. gambiae and provide data regarding expression on the mosquito Y-chromosome. Our data suggest that an invasive X-shredder resulting from a post-release movement of such autosomal transgenes onto the Y-chromosome is unlikely.

Original languageEnglish
Article number752253
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • gene drive
  • genetic control
  • malaria
  • risk assessment
  • sex-ratio distortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering

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