Submitted to: Screw-Worm Fly Emergency Preparedness Conference 2001 Australia
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The sterile insect release method (SIRM) is a proven insect control technique that led to the eradication of the New World screwworm fly from the U.S. and Central America by the release of mass-reared sterile insects into areas infested by this serious livestock pest. The authors identify two techniques that would improve the SIRM for use on a related livestock pest, the Old World screwworm fly. These techniques are the development of a strain that results in the release of only sterile male flies and a cold storage method (cryopreservation) which allows the long-term storage of insects for use in mass-rearing and research. This report further provides extensive information on where cryopreservation would aid a eradication effort, should an incursion of the Old World screwworm become a reality in Australia. This information includes the use of unlimited cold storage for preserving factory-adapted, mass-reared strains, saving mutant strains used in development of an all male line and providing a gene bank of subtly different geographical strains. In the Australia context, the development of the cryopreservation technique for the Old World screwworm will offer opportunities to improve the level of preparedness for an invasion of this pest into Australia as well as to exploit the advantages that this technique offers to all SIRM programs.
Technical Abstract: The sterile insect release method (SIRM) is a technique that was conceived and developed in the 1950's as a means to control/eradicate the New World screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominovorax (Knipling, 1955). Advances in techniques to mass rear insects under factory-like conditions have enabled the SIRM technique to be deployed against a range of insect pests. It could be argued that the next major improvement in SIRM was the development of genetical techniques that enable the removal of female embryos during a mass rearing regime. This technique was pioneered by CSIRO Entomology during the development of genetic control techniques for the Australian sheep blowfly, Lucilia cuprina (Whitten and Foster 1975; Whitten et al., 1977) and is now an essential component of medfly, Ceratitus capitata SIRM progrmas around the world. Where the pest species is amenable to similar genetic manipulation, the advantages of the technique will ensure its adoption in other SIRM programs. The next major improvement to the SIRM technique is likely to result from the rapidly expanding ability to cryopreserve insect embryos.