Laboratory selection for an accelerated mosquito sexual development rate

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Separating males and females at the early adult stage did not ensure the virginity of females of Anopheles arabiensis (Dongola laboratory strain), whereas two years earlier this method had been successful. In most mosquito species, newly emerged males and females are not able to mate successfully. For anopheline species, a period of 24 h post-emergence is generally required for the completion of sexual maturation, which in males includes a 180° rotation of the genitalia. In this study, the possibility of an unusually shortened sexual maturity period in the laboratory-reared colony was investigated. METHODS: The effect of two different sex-separation methods on the virginity of females was tested: females separated as pupae or less than 16 h post-emergence were mated with males subjected to various doses of radiation. T-tests were performed to compare the two sex-separation methods. The rate of genitalia rotation was compared for laboratory-reared and wild males collected as pupae in Dongola, Sudan, and analysed by Z-tests. Spermatheca dissections were performed on females mated with laboratory-reared males to determine their insemination status. RESULTS: When the sex-separation was performed when adults were less than 16 h post-emergence, expected sterility was never reached for females mated with radio-sterilized males. Expected sterility was accomplished only when sexes were separated at the pupal stage. Observation of genitalia rotation showed that some males from the laboratory strain Dongola were able to successfully mate only 11 h after emergence and 42% of the males had already completed rotation. A small proportion of the same age females were inseminated. Wild males showed a much slower genitalia rotation rate. At 17 h post-emergence, 96% of the laboratory-reared males had completed genitalia rotation whereas none of the wild males had. CONCLUSION: This colony has been cultured in the laboratory for over one hundred generations, and now has accelerated sexual maturation when compared with the wild strain. This outcome demonstrates the kinds of selection that can be expected during insect colonization and maintenance, particularly when generations are non-overlapping and similar-age males must compete for mates.
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Clelia F. Oliva, Mark Q. Benedict, Guy Lempérière, Jeremie Gilles. Laboratory selection for an accelerated mosquito sexual development rate. Malaria Journal, BioMed Central, 2011, 10, pp.135. 〈10.1186/1475-2875-10-135〉. 〈hal-01274612〉

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