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May 2021

For more than 20 years, researchers in the field of sterile insect technology (SIT), an environmentally friendly method of pest control, have been trying to find the so-called white pupae gene and to understand it molecularly.


Photo: The Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata, with its wild-type brown and CRISPR-Cas9 mutated white pupae. Copyright: Roswitha A. Aumann and Marc F. Schetelig. 

The visible change in pupal color that accompanies changes in this gene has long been used for the successful breeding and control of the Mediterranean fruit fly using SIT. As can be seen in the photo, the wild-type color of the pupae is brown, the modified variant produces white pupae. In the course of her doctoral thesis, Roswitha Aumann identified the mutation in the Mediterranean fruit fly and examined it functionally using CRISPR-Cas9. How? Details can be found in the publication in Nature Communications (

For more information:
Prof. Dr. Marc F. Schetelig, Insect Biotechnology in Plant Protection
Phone +49 (0) 641 9935900