Significant technology advancements set stage for targeted, multi-generation suppression of disease-transmitting mosquitoes
OXFORD, England, May 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Oxitec Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (XON), announced that the newest addition to its Friendly™ Aedes aegypti mosquito line, "OX5034", will initiate open field trials on May 23, 2018. OX5034 is the next generation of Oxitec's non-biting Friendly™ Aedes mosquitoes, designed to reduce populations of the disease-spreading Aedes aegypti mosquito. It offers significant advances from the first generation mosquito, known as "OX513A".
This first field trial of this second generation Friendly™ Aedes mosquito will take place in Indaiatuba, a municipality in the state of São Paulo and part of the metropolitan region of Campinas, Brazil. The trial is designed to generate data for an application to Brazil's regulatory agency, the National Technical Commission for Biosecurity (CTNBio), to secure approval for commercial use of the new Friendly™ Mosquitoes throughout the country. The trial is expected to cover an area home to a total of approximately 2,000 residents and will extend through 2018 to measure its ability to suppress Aedes aegypti when the pest pressure is typically at its highest. CTNBio previously approved the use of OX513A in April 2014 , which was the first self-limiting insect approved for commercial use in Brazil.
OX5034 is a second generation mosquito control vector, related to the approved mosquito OX513A. As with the first generation mosquito, upon release into the wild OX5034 males mate with wild females and all biting female offspring die. One of the new benefits is that male offspring survive, allowing additional mating cycles that reduce the pest population further still. This multi-generation function of OX5034 is time-limited, as in subsequent generations fewer and fewer males pass on their self-limiting genes. This amplifies the impact of a release program, while still ensuring that Oxitec self-limiting male mosquitoes will not persist in the environment, as they will disappear from the environment 10 generations after releases stop.
"Our second generation Friendly™ Aedes mosquito represents a breakthrough in the use of self-limiting technology to safely and sustainably suppress existing disease-carrying mosquitoes while significantly reducing the environmental footprint as compared to conventional options," said Grey Frandsen, CEO of Oxitec Ltd. "This new Aedes aegypti strain has the same highly-effective self-limiting characteristics as the first generation mosquito, but with the additional feature of male-selection technology which prevents survival of female offspring while allowing male offspring to survive. This means that with each release we can generate sustained suppression over time with fewer mosquitoes," continued Frandsen.
"While similar to our first generation mosquito, from extensive work in indoor trials we expect our second generation mosquito to deliver pest suppression with fewer mosquito releases. In addition, the new line offers significant operational advantages and cost savings. This will greatly streamline the production process," stated Dr. Natalia Ferreira, Lead Scientist for the field trial in Brazil.
Development of the OX5034 male-selecting strain provides another significant benefit to global efforts to combat Aedes aegypti by introducing natural insecticide-susceptibility genes to the local Aedes aegypti population. The background genetics of these second generation males has potential to counter the growing spread of insecticide resistance in wild populations worldwide, making it ideal for use within integrated vector management strategies, complimenting traditional mosquito control methods. This could extend the life of existing control tools while reducing the level of insecticides necessary for effective suppression.
As OX5034 moves into field trials in Brazil, Oxitec's first generation mosquito continues to deliver significant rates of suppression as part of integrated pest management strategies in Piracicaba and Juiz de Fora.
Oxitec is a pioneer in using genetic engineering to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops, and was founded in 2002 as a spinout from the University of Oxford (UK). Oxitec is a subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (XON), which engineers biology to help solve some of the world's biggest problems. Follow us on Twitter at @Oxitec.
About Intrexon Corporation
Intrexon Corporation (XON) is Powering the Bioindustrial Revolution with Better DNA™ to create biologically-based products that improve the quality of life and the health of the planet. The Company's integrated technology suite provides its partners across diverse markets with industrial-scale design and development of complex biological systems delivering unprecedented control, quality, function, and performance of living cells. We call our synthetic biology approach Better DNA®, and we invite you to discover more at http://www.dna.com or follow us on Twitter at @Intrexon, on Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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