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Insects 2019, 10(4), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10040089

Aseptic Rearing and Infection with Gut Bacteria Improve the Fitness of Transgenic Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Penryn campus, College of Life and Environmental Science, University of Exeter, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 6 March 2019 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
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Abstract

Mass insect rearing can have a range of applications, for example in biological control of pests. The competitive fitness of released insects is extremely important in a number of applications. Here, we investigated how to improve the fitness of a transgenic diamondback moth, which has shown variation in mating ability when reared in different insectaries. Specifically we tested whether infection with a gut bacteria, Enterobacter cloacae, and aseptic rearing of larvae could improve insect growth and male performance. All larvae were readily infected with E. cloacae. Under aseptic rearing, pupal weights were reduced and there was a marginal reduction in larval survival. However, aseptic rearing substantially improved the fitness of transgenic males. In addition, under aseptic rearing, inoculation with E. cloacae increased pupal weights and male fitness, increasing the proportion of transgenic progeny from 20% to 30% relative to uninfected insects. Aseptic conditions may improve the fitness of transgenic males by excluding microbial contaminants, while symbiont inoculation could further improve fitness by providing additional protection against infection, or by normalizing insect physiology. The simple innovation of incorporating antibiotic into diet, and inoculating insects with symbiotic bacteria that are resistant to that antibiotic, could provide a readily transferable tool for other insect rearing systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: genetically modified insects; symbiosis; microbiome; transgenic; self-limiting; insect rearing; mutualism genetically modified insects; symbiosis; microbiome; transgenic; self-limiting; insect rearing; mutualism
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Somerville, J.; Zhou, L.; Raymond, B. Aseptic Rearing and Infection with Gut Bacteria Improve the Fitness of Transgenic Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella. Insects 2019, 10, 89.

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