PCOC - Spring 2020 - 25

A schematic of the new precision-guided sterile insect technique (pgSIT), which uses components of the CRISPR/Cas9 system to disrupt key genes that control female viability and
male fertility, resulting in sterile male progeny.

Since the 1930s, agricultural
researchers have used select methods to release sterile male insects
into the wild to control and eradicate pest populations. In the 1950s,
a method using irradiated males was
implemented in the United States to
eliminate the pest species known as
the New World Screwworm fly, which
consumes animal flesh and causes
extensive damage to livestock. Such
radiation-based methods were later
used in Mexico and parts of Central
America and continue today.
Instead of radiation, the new pgSIT
(precision-guided sterile insect technique), developed over the past
year-and-a-half by Kandul and Akbari in
the fruit fly Drosophila, uses CRISPR to

simultaneously disrupt key genes that
control female viability and male fertility
in pest species. pgSIT, the researchers
say, results in sterile male progeny with
100 percent efficiency. Because the
targeted genes are common to a vast
cross-section of insects, the researchers are confident the technology can be
applied to a range of insects, including
disease-spreading mosquitoes.
The researchers envision a system
in which scientists genetically alter
and produce eggs of a targeted pest
species. The eggs are then shipped
to a pest location virtually anywhere in
the world, circumventing the need for
a production facility on-site. Once the
eggs are deployed at the pest location,
the researchers say, the newly born

sterile males will mate with females in
the wild and be incapable of producing
offspring, driving down the population.
"This is a novel twist of a very old
technology," said Kandul, an assistant
project scientist in UC San Diego's
Division of Biological Sciences. "That
novel twist makes it extremely portable
from one species to another species to
suppress populations of mosquitoes or
agricultural pests, for example those
that feed on valuable wine grapes."
The new technology is distinct from
continuously self-propagating "gene
drive" systems that propagate genetic
alterations from generation to generation. Instead, pgSIT is considered a
"dead end" since male sterility effectively
closes the door on future generations.
"The sterile insect technique is an
environmentally safe and proven technology," the researchers note in the
paper. "We aimed to develop a novel,
safe, controllable, non-invasive genetic
CRISPR-based technology that could be
transferred across species and implemented worldwide in the short-term to
combat wild populations."
With pgSIT proven in fruit flies, the
scientists are hoping to develop the
technology in Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species responsible for transmitting dengue fever, Zika, yellow
fever and other diseases to millions
of people.
"The extension of this work to other
insect pests could prove to be a general
and very useful strategy to deal with
many vector-borne diseases that plague
humanity and wreak havoc an agriculture globally," said Suresh Subramani,
global director of the Tata Institute for
Genetics and Society.
Coauthors of the paper include
Junru Liu of UC San Diego and Hector
Sanchez C., Sean Wu and John Marshall
of UC Berkeley.
The research was funded by the
National Institutes of Health (NIH),
including a NIH-K22 Career Transition
award (5K22AI113060); an NIH
Exploratory/Developmental Research
Grant Award (1R21AI123937); and a
Defense Advanced Research Project
Agency (DARPA) Safe Genes Program
Grant (HR0011-17-2- 0047).



PCOC - Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PCOC - Spring 2020

President’s Message
EVP Message
The Benefits of Being a PCOC Member
Details About the Future of Pest Control Expo
Surviving a Technology Conversion: 10 Tech Upgrade Tips for Smooth Sailing
Pesticide Research Must Stay Transparent and Independent
New Technology to Control Pests with Precision-Guided Genetics
NPMA Federal Update
State Capitol Report
Firm Profile
Index to Advertisers
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Intro
PCOC - Spring 2020 - cover1
PCOC - Spring 2020 - cover2
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 3
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 4
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 5
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 6
PCOC - Spring 2020 - President’s Message
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 8
PCOC - Spring 2020 - EVP Message
PCOC - Spring 2020 - The Benefits of Being a PCOC Member
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 11
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Details About the Future of Pest Control Expo
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 13
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Surviving a Technology Conversion: 10 Tech Upgrade Tips for Smooth Sailing
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 15
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 16
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 17
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 18
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 19
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Pesticide Research Must Stay Transparent and Independent
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 21
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 22
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 23
PCOC - Spring 2020 - New Technology to Control Pests with Precision-Guided Genetics
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 25
PCOC - Spring 2020 - NPMA Federal Update
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 27
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Insurance
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 29
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 30
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 31
PCOC - Spring 2020 - State Capitol Report
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 33
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 34
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 35
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 36
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Marketing
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 38
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 39
PCOC - Spring 2020 - 40
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Firm Profile
PCOC - Spring 2020 - Index to Advertisers
PCOC - Spring 2020 - cover3
PCOC - Spring 2020 - cover4
PCOC - Spring 2020 - outsert1
PCOC - Spring 2020 - outsert2
PCOC - Spring 2020 - outsert3
PCOC - Spring 2020 - outsert4