Genetically engineered insects with sex-selection and genetic incompatibility enable population suppression

Ambuj Upadhyay, Nathan R Feltman, Adam Sychla, Anna Janzen, Sibar Das, Maciej Maselko, Michael Smanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Engineered Genetic Incompatibility (EGI) is a method to create species-like barriers to sexual reproduction. It has applications in pest control that mimic Sterile Insect Technique when only EGI males are released. This can be facilitated by introducing conditional female-lethality to EGI strains to generate a sex-sorting incompatible male system (SSIMS). Here, we demonstrate a proof of concept by combining tetracycline-controlled female lethality constructs with a pyramus-­targeting EGI line in the model insect Drosophila melanogaster. We show that both functions (incompatibility and sex-sorting) are robustly maintained in the SSIMS line and that this approach is effective for population suppression in cage experiments. Further we show that SSIMS males remain competitive with wild-ŧype males for reproduction with wild-ŧype females, including at the level of sperm competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere71230
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Max Scott for helpful discussions about conditional female lethality and for providing us with genetic reagents. We thank Dr. Michael O’Connor for balancer strains that were used for the cross strategy. MJS, AU, SD, and MM were supported in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (grant number D17AP00028). The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this article are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies, either expressed or implied, of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or the Department of Defense. AU and NF were supported by funding provided by the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© Upadhyay et al.


  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Drosophila melanogaster/genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Infertility/genetics
  • Male

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Journal Article


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