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Title: Genetic control of the olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae
Author: Ant, Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 6279
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae, (Rossi) (Diptera:Tephritidae), is a key pest of olive crops. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an environmentally benign and species-specific method of pest control, aiming to reduce the reproductive potential of a wild population through the mass-release of sterile insects. Previous olive fly SIT trials, involving the release of gamma-ray sterilised mixed-sex populations, achieved limited success. Key problems included altered diurnal mating rhythms of the laboratory-reared insects, leading to assortative mating between released and wild populations, and low competitiveness of the radiation sterilised mass-reared flies. Consequently, the production of competitive, male-only release cohorts is seen as essential. The RIDL (Release of Insects carrying a Dominant Lethal) system is a transgene-based derivative of SIT, one version of which involves the mass release of insects carrying a female specific lethal transgene (fsRIDL). This thesis describes: 1) the development of fsRIDL olive fly strains and the molecular analysis of transgene insertion and function; 2) the analysis of strain life-history parameters; 3) studies into sexual selection and mating compatibility; 4) a caged proof-of-principle population suppression trial; and, 5) selection dynamics on the fsRIDL trait in caged populations. Olive fly fsRIDL strains were developed with full female-lethal penetrance and repressibility. The lead strain displayed similar life-history and sexual competitiveness traits to those of the wild-type strain from which they were derived. In addition, transgenic males showed photoperiod compatibility and strong sexual competitiveness with field-collected wild olive flies. The feasibility of the fsRIDL approach was demonstrated when repeated male releases caused eradication of caged olive fly populations. Although needing field confirmation, these results suggest that fsRIDL olive fly strains may help to mitigate key problems experienced in previous olive fly SIT trials, and could help form the basis of a renewed effort towards olive fly SIT control.
Supervisor: Alphey, Luke; Shimeld, Sebastian Sponsor: BBSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Life Sciences ; Biology ; Technologies of politics and ecology ; Genetics (life sciences) ; Zoological sciences ; olive fly ; sterile insect technique ; transgenic ; tephritid ; autocidal