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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sterile-insect methods for control of mosquito-borne diseases – An analysis

item Alphey, Luke
item Benedict, Mark
item Bellini, Romeo
item Clark, Gary
item Dame, David
item Service, Mike
item Dobson, Stephen

Submitted to: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/29/2009
Publication Date: 4/25/2010
Publication URL:
Citation: Alphey L., Benedict M., Bellini R., Clark G.G., Dame D.A., Service M.W., Dobson S.L. 2010. Sterile-insect methods for control of mosquito-borne diseases - an analysis. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 10(3):295-311.

Interpretive Summary: Effective vector control, and more specifically mosquito control, is a complex and difficult problem, as illustrated by the continuing prevalence and spread of mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. and around the world. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and similar methods control certain agricultural insect pest populations in a species-specific, environmentally sound and effective manner and there is increased interest in applying this approach to vector control. Such an approach, like all others in use and development, is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, and will be more appropriate when applied in some situations than in others. In addition, the proposed release of pest insects, and more so genetically modified (GM) pest insects, often generates questions from the general public and the scientific community as to such a method’s efficacy, safety and sustainability. This article addresses these concerns and indicates where sterile-insect methods are likely to be successfully useful for vector control.

Technical Abstract: At the outset, this article lists a series of 25 objections or questions that have been frequently raised by diverse groups and individuals about the use of sterile-release methods to control vector populations. These questions are then systematically discussed and address characteristics and applicability of SIT; species-specific issues; safety, regulatory and public perception issues; consequences of success; and priorities for investment. The content reflects the experience and consensus of a diverse group of international scientists involved and interested in the use of sterile insect technologies for controlling mosquitoes.

Last Modified: 08/17/2017
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