Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology describe the creation of the flies that, when released into a wild population, could out-compete the normal male flies and cause a generation of pests to be stillborn – protecting important crops.
Ernst A. Wimmer from the Georg-August-University in Göttingen, Germany, led an international team of researchers who developed the lethal Mediterranean fruit flies (Ceratitis capitata), also known as medfly. He said, “Here, we present the first alternative, radiation-free, reproductive sterility system for medfly based on transgenic embryonic lethality”.
The medfly is a devastating and economically important pest. The currently used method of controlling it is the sterile insect technique (SIT), whereby male flies are irradiated to induce reproductive sterility and then released into the wild, where competition with fertile males reduces the overall insect population. This radioactive version of the SIT has the drawback that the irradiated males are often less competitive than their wild brethren and so an awkward balance must be stuck between competitiveness and degree of sterility. According to Wimmer, “When transgenic males carrying our transgenic system mate with wild females, all progeny die during embryogenesis without the need for radiation. Due to the complete lethality, no fruit damage from developing larvae will occur and no transgenes can pass into the wild population. Moreover, males carrying this system are highly competitive”.
In order to suppress the lethality system during rearing of the flies, supplements are added to their food that switch off the genetic self-destruct. The authors write that, “Use of our embryonic lethality system, without the need for radiation, can increase the safety of SIT programs, since accidental releases would not lead to infestations of the environment and possible risks coming from isotopic sources can be eliminated for workers and the environment”.
Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences