Efficient production of male Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes enables large-scale suppression of wild populations

Jacob E. Crawford, David W. Clarke, Victor Criswell, Mark Desnoyer, Devon Cornel, Brittany Deegan, Kyle Gong, Kaycie C. Hopkins, Paul Howell, Justin S. Hyde, Josh Livni, Charlie Behling, Renzo Benza, Willa Chen, Karen L. Dobson, Craig Eldershaw, Daniel Greeley, Yi Han, Bridgette Hughes, Evdoxia KakaniJoe Karbowski, Angus Kitchell, Erika Lee, Teresa Lin, Jianyi Liu, Martin Lozano, Warren MacDonald, James W. Mains, Matty Metlitz, Sara N. Mitchell, David Moore, Johanna R. Ohm, Kathleen Parkes, Alexandra Porshnikoff, Chris Robuck, Martin Sheridan, Robert Sobecki, Peter Smith, Jessica Stevenson, Jordan Sullivan, Brian Wasson, Allison M. Weakley, Mark Wilhelm, Joshua Won, Ari Yasunaga, William C. Chan, Jodi Holeman, Nigel Snoad, Linus Upson, Tiantian Zha, Stephen L. Dobson, F. Steven Mulligan, Peter Massaro, Bradley J. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


The range of the mosquito Aedes aegypti continues to expand, putting more than two billion people at risk of arboviral infection. The sterile insect technique (SIT) has been used to successfully combat agricultural pests at large scale, but not mosquitoes, mainly because of challenges with consistent production and distribution of high-quality male mosquitoes. We describe automated processes to rear and release millions of competitive, sterile male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, and use of these males in a large-scale suppression trial in Fresno County, California. In 2018, we released 14.4 million males across three replicate neighborhoods encompassing 293 hectares. At peak mosquito season, the number of female mosquitoes was 95.5% lower (95% CI, 93.6–96.9) in release areas compared to non-release areas, with the most geographically isolated neighborhood reaching a 99% reduction. This work demonstrates the high efficacy of mosquito SIT in an area ninefold larger than in previous similar trials, supporting the potential of this approach in public health and nuisance-mosquito eradication programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-492
Number of pages11
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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