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Building early-larval sexing systems for genetic control of the Australian sheep blow fly Lucilia cuprina using two constitutive promoters

: Yan, Y.; Linger, R.J.; Scott, M.J.

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Scientific Reports 7 (2017), Art. 2538, 10 pp.
ISSN: 2045-2322
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

Transgenic sexing strains (TSS) that carry conditional female lethal genes are advantageous for genetic control programs based on the sterile insect technique (SIT). It is desirable if females die early in development as larval diet is a major cost for mass production facilities. This can be achieved by using a gene promoter that is only active in embryos to drive expression of the tetracycline transactivator (tTA), the transcription factor commonly used in two-component TSS. While an embryo-specific promoter is ideal it may not be essential for assembling an effective TSS as tTA can be repressed by addition of tetracycline to the diet at larval and/or adult stages. Here we have investigated this idea by isolating and employing the promoters from the Lucilia spitting image and actin 5C genes to drive tTA expression in embryos and later stages. L. cuprina TSS with the tTA drivers and tTA-regulated tetO-Lshid effectors produced only females when raised on a limited tetrac ycline diet. The Lshid transgene contains a sex-specific intron and as a consequence only females produce LsHID protein. TSS females died at early larval stages, which makes the lines advantageous for an SIT program.