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New Comprehensive Text on the Sterile Insect Technique

Springer (see announces the publication in November 2005 of a new textbook, Sterile Insect Technique: Principles and Practice in Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management. Editors Dyck, V.A., Hendrichs, J. & Robinson, A.S. 2005, xiv + 787pp. ISBN: 1-4020-4050-4 (€304.95). TTI has not yet had a view of this publication, and is here relying largely on the publisher's description of the text, and on IAEA sources.

The publisher points out that the sterile insect technique (SIT) is an environmentfriendly method of pest control that integrates well into area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programmes. A first of its kind, this book takes a generic, comprehensive, and global approach in describing the principles and practice of the SIT. The strengths and weaknesses, as well as the successes and failures, of the SIT are evaluated openly and fairly from a scientific perspective. The SIT is applicable to some major pests of plant, animal and human health importance, and criteria are provided to guide in the selection of pests appropriate for the SIT.

A great variety of subjects is covered, from the history of the SIT to improved prospects for its future application. The book is divided into eight sections: Introduction; Principles of the SIT; Technical Components of the SIT; Supportive Technologies to Improve the SIT; Economic, Environmental and Management Considerations; Application of the SIT; Impact of AW-IPM Programmes that Integrate the SIT; and Future Developments of the SIT. The major chapters discuss the principles, technical components, and application of sterile insects. The four main strategic options in using the SIT - suppression, containment, prevention, and eradication - with examples of each option, are described in detail. Other chapters deal with supportive technologies, economic, environmental, and management considerations, and the socio-economic impact of AW-IPM programmes that integrate the SIT.

This book provides a wealth of information and reference material never before available in one volume. It is claimed that the book will be a standard reference on the subject for many years. The authors, from 19 countries, are highly experienced in the subject, and reflect the international character of SIT activities.

The book's readership is anticipated to be mainly students in general animal and plant health courses, but the in-depth reviews of all aspects of the SIT and its integration into AW-IPM programmes should be of great value to researchers, teachers, animal and plant health practitioners, and policy makers.


Seventeenth Programme Report of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (2004)

The WHO Director-General Dr Jon-Wook Lee remarks in his Message introductory to this report that TDR's long history of combining cutting edge scientific research with the delivery of practical solutions in the fight against tropical diseases is one of WHO's success stories, shared with TDR's other co-sponsors. He urges that all must work towards establishing a research culture in health - a culture that sees both research and control activities as integral components of improved health outcomes and as partner activities in a common health system.

Under the heading of Human African Trypanosomiasis, the Report states that HAT rose steadily in incidence after the 1960s but is now on the wane. WHO estimates that 300 000–500 000 people are affected but it is admitted that there are no accurate figures for this disease that affects mainly remote areas.

Major challenges faced by those attempting to control the disease include inadequate resources, inadequate surveillance, and inadequate knowledge of the disease; lack of effective diagnostics; drugs that are costly and/or cause adverse reactions; human population movements; and agro-ecological changes that alter the tsetse habitat and increase contact between humans and the tsetse fly.

It is accepted that vector control based on insecticides, targets and traps will be important in the control of HAT for the foreseeable future. TDR has recently published a review of traps and targets for tsetse and trypanosomiasis control. Looking to the future of tsetse control, TDR supports a molecular entomology approach, with the objective to generate by 2009 knowledge on the molecular and genomic aspects of the tsetse, so as to be able to create tools to genetically transform them, to identify tsetse genes that might disrupt trypanosome growth, and to find ways of spreading selected genes throughout wild tsetse populations.

Also described are a number of avenues of attack on the trypanosome parasite, using genomic studies. An understanding of the genetic basis of vector competence in natural populations is being sought.


FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory, Seibersdorf, Austria.

Pupal sexing

As part of the drive to automate the routines involved in tsetse rearing, tests have been under way to find if tsetse pupae can be sorted by sex, using near infra-red spectrometry. Progress has been made using Glossina pallidipes as the test insect. Good results have been obtained using pupae 4–5 days before emergence: the sexing accuracy obtained was about 96 percent. Other species are being worked on in the same manner, but the results have yet to be analysed. The use of the spectrometer is anticipated to become standard in the maintenance on the colony at Seibersdorf and in operations aimed at the provision of male pupae for irradiation and field release. Sexing of flies using the normal chilling procedures will no longer be required.

Salivary gland hyperplasia

It has been known for some time that a virus induces salivary gland hyperplasia in the tsetse. It appears also to cause reproductive abnormalities, and such pathological effects may be especially severe in G. pallidipes . In the field, low levels are normally found (0.5–5 percent) but laboratory colonies can be more seriously affected leading to decreases in the reproductive capacity.

In order to understand better the biology of the virus, steps are being taken to obtain its nucleotide sequence. Various methods of inducing virus infections are being tried out. Eventually it is hoped to extract sufficient purified virus for the molecular biology routines to be applied for the completion of the sequencing studies. Setting up cell cultures of salivary gland and other material proved difficult, but further attempts to do so are continuing.

Colony status

Due to shortages in resources, future supplies of tsetse pupae to Technical Cooperation projects will not be free, but will instead be charged to the respective project. It is planned to stabilise the Bratislava colonies at approximately 50 000 breeding females for each of G. pallidipes and G. fuscipes fuscipes , and approximately 20 000 breeding females for G. morsitans centralis .A G. pallidipes colony of about the same size will be housed in the new Tsetse Production Unit 3 at Siebersdorf. A number of relatively minor problems associated with the TPU3 have been identified and corrective measures taken. Collaborating scientists requiring pupae of G. m. morsitans should contact Peter Takac in Bratislava (

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