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New Technology

Research Achievements

New Technology

Dr. Max Scott, a GPM course instructor, is currently developing transgenic screwworm fly strains to combat its spread. The New World screwworm (NWS) fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax, is a devastating pest of warm-blooded animals. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) was used to eradicate the NWS from U.S.A., Mexico and Central America. Sterilized male and female NWS are released continually in a "buffer zone" in Southern Panama to prevent re-introduction from South America. His new transgenic NWS strains carry tetracycline-repressible female lethal genetic systems. This will enable male-only releases, which will significantly improve the efficiency of genetic suppression. Several transgenic lines have been made. The most promising line to date shows 98-100% female lethality when raised on diet that lacks tetracycline. The transgenic flies will carry a stable fluorescent protein marker, which will allow strain determination of sampled flies within the NWS-free zone.