Using Wolbachia to Suppress Mosquito Fertility
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study that tested whether releasing mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria could reduce mosquito populations.
To reduce mosquito populations and the diseases that they carry, scientists have developed techniques to suppress mosquito fertility. One technique involves breeding male mosquitoes in labs and infecting them with Wolbachia bacteria. When these infected males mate with uninfected wild females, the females cannot produce viable offspring. The figure shows the percentage of mosquito eggs that hatched at sites where infected male mosquitoes were released (gray bars) or not released (white bars). The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Explain how certain biological control methods can reduce the spread of diseases.
bar graph, biological control (biocontrol), cytoplasmic incompatibility, error bar, infertility, sterile insect technique, vector
Mains, James W., Corey L. Brelsfoard, Robert I. Rose, and Stephen L. Dobson. “Female adult Aedes albopictus suppression by Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes.” Scientific Reports 6, 33846 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep33846.
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Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-2, HS-LS4-5; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
IST-1.I, ENE-4.B; SP1, SP4
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 5.14, 5.6, 8.9, 8.15, 9.4
Learning Objectives & Practices: STB-1.C, STB-1.D, EIN-2.G, STB-3.L, EIN-3.D, STB-4.E, SP5, SP7
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Math.S-ID.3, Math.S-IC.1; MP2, MP5
Vision and Change (2009)
CC2; DP2, DP3