Location: Horticultural Crops Research
Project Number: 2072-22000-044-06-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Nov 1, 2019
End Date: Oct 31, 2022
ARS will test Agragene’s sterile male spotted wing drosophila (SWD) product to suppress wild populations of SWD on blueberry cultivars.
This novel CRISPR CAS-9 system efficiently produces 100% sterile males using a cross between two homozygous lines. Release of these sterile males will not alter the genetics of the wild population as no gene transfer is possible. Alternative ways to produce sterile males such as irradiation creates unpredictable changes in the insect DNA, creates males that are less fit than their normal counterpart, and requires manual labor for sexing. A dedicated chamber that is APHIS approved will be used to rear the CRISPR CAS9 and gRNA lines. Five ratios of sterile males will be released into a cage (75 x 75 x 115 cm) with wild SWD, 10 virgin females and 10 virgin males. Ratios may be 5:1 of sterile males to virgin females, 3:1, 2:1, 1:1, and 0:1 Fresh fruit will be placed and replaced mid-week for SWD to oviposit for 7 days.