At issue is the displacement of Aedes aegypti (yellow fever) mosquitos by a cousin species, Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger), which occurred in the southeastern United States in the 1980s. In this "battle of the Aedes," the invading A. albopictus decimated A. aegypti populations throughout the Southeast, leaving smaller A. aegypti populations in Key West, Florida, Arizona and a few other southern locales. A. aegypti mosquitoes carry and spread many diseases that harm humans, including Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya.
Part of the takeover was attributed to how the larvae of each species grew; A. albopictus mosquitoes seemed to be able to outcompete the native mosquitoes. But another factor also played a huge role in the battle: When A. aegypti females mated with A. albopictus males -- a genetic no-no -- those females became sterile for life, a process called "satyrization." A. albopictus females didn't face the same fate; no offspring were produced when they mated with A. aegypti males, but they were later able to be fertile when mating with males of their own species.
Martha - Burford - Reiskind - Research - Assistant
Martha Burford Reiskind, research assistant professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at NC State and corresponding author of a paper describing the research, and colleagues wanted to understand more about how A. aegypti females respond to this type of threat and what happens in their genetic blueprint as their responses change.
The researchers found that A. aegypti females quickly -- in just six generations -- became more picky when selecting mates, eschewing A....
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