PhD project

Project 7 - Tsetse fly associated covert viruses and endosymbionts (NL)

Insect pests such as tsetse flies cause major health and economic problems as they transmit trypanosomes causing sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in animals (cattle, antelopes). The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is an effective method of vector control. It consists of sterilizing the males by irradiation. Then a large number of sterile males are released in the target area. The sterile males compete with wild males to mate with virgin females. Females mate only once, and those that mate with a sterile male produce no offspring, reducing the population size of the next generation. In order to have success with the SIT, it is important to have a healthy and competitive insect colony. The aim of this project is to improve tsetse mass rearing by analysing the impact of viral infection on colony performance.