Plant Pests of the Middle East


Publications by year


Publications by Authors

entomology authors

Recent Publications

Contact Us

The Department of Entomology
The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Herzl 229, Rehovot 7610001, ISRAEL

Tel: 08-9489223 
Fax: 08-9366768

A CRISPR-Cas9 sex-ratio distortion system for genetic control


Galizi, R. ; Hammond, A. ; Kyrou, K. ; Taxiarchi, C. ; Bernardini, F. ; O’Loughlin, S. M. ; Papathanos, P. A. ; Nolan, T. ; Windbichler, N. ; Crisanti, A. A CRISPR-Cas9 sex-ratio distortion system for genetic control. 2016, 6 31139.

Date Published:



Genetic control aims to reduce the ability of insect pest populations to cause harm via the release of modified insects. One strategy is to bias the reproductive sex ratio towards males so that a population decreases in size or is eliminated altogether due to a lack of females. We have shown previously that sex ratio distortion can be generated synthetically in the main human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, by selectively destroying the X-chromosome during spermatogenesis, through the activity of a naturally-occurring endonuclease that targets a repetitive rDNA sequence highly-conserved in a wide range of organisms. Here we describe a CRISPR-Cas9 sex distortion system that targets ribosomal sequences restricted to the member species of the Anopheles gambiae complex. Expression of Cas9 during spermatogenesis resulted in RNA-guided shredding of the X-chromosome during male meiosis and produced extreme male bias among progeny in the absence of any significant reduction in fertility. The flexibility of CRISPR-Cas9 combined with the availability of genomic data for a range of insects renders this strategy broadly applicable for the species-specific control of any pest or vector species with an XY sex-determination system by targeting sequences exclusive to the female sex chromosome.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 12/26/2019