Location: Screwworm Research
Project Number: 6205-32000-030-00
Start Date: Nov 11, 2004
End Date: Sep 30, 2009
Toward developing a male-only strain of screwworm genetic linkage analysis, partial genome sequencing (involving relative expressed sequence tags), homology-based amplification of known insect genes, transgenic and other techniques will be used to identify and characterize genes important in sex determination, sex differentiation, and embryonic development in screwworms. Developing improved diets, rearing methods and production processes will involve testing new dietary ingredients and other components used in diet preparation following standard protocols. A collaboration will be established with personnel at the Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory of Plum Island, New York, to conduct controlled exposures of screwworms to disease-causing viruses and bioassays to determine if screwworms serve as vectors of these disease agents. Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) have previously shown, using standard protocols developed by personnel in the Unit, potential for both species identification and determination of geographic origin; thus they will be used to further explore and catalog genetic variability of screwworm samples collected from different geographic regions in the Caribbean and South America. Remote sensing and GIS modeling technology will be used to further correlate screwworm habitat utilization and other geographic parameters with data from ecological studies, data on host density and incidence of screwworm cases to determine if using ground release chambers can enhance eradication efforts. Predictive modeling following reaction diffusion theory will be used to characterize population dynamics in various ecosystems and compared with data from previous field studies on sterile-fly dispersion with a goal of further optimizing release strategies in the screwworm barrier zone and in response to outbreaks. New strains will be developed from wild flies collected from indigenous areas as needed and requested by our customers.