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Effects of radiation on inherited sterility in the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana)




The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an alternative, environmentally friendly method for controlling insect pests. In the Lepidoptera, a low dose of gamma irradiation causes inherited sterility (SIT-IS), leading to full sterility in females but only partial sterility in males, which successfully compete with wild males for mates. This study examined the effect of a low radiation dose (150 Gy) on the fitness parameters of male and female Lobesia botrana, a polyphagous and major pest of vineyards found in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.


Irradiation of the pupae did not affect their emergence rate, flight ability out of a cylinder, male response to sex pheromone in a field cage or male or female mating success. A major effect of irradiation was observed in the significantly reduced number of irradiated females' offspring reaching pupation, and as a consequence a limited number of F2 offspring. The effect of irradiation on male partial sterility (also called inherited sterility) was reflected in the male-biased sex ratio of F1 offspring of irradiated males, the reduced number of F1 offspring and the very low number of F2 descendants.


This study demonstrates the feasibility of controlling L. botrana using SIT-IS. Adding this method to the arsenal of environmentally friendly tools to control this pest may assist in further reducing the use of insecticides on edible crops. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry