Gene drive in the fruit fly, Drosophila suzukii

Dr. Max Scott’s lab at NC State is developing gene drives in the invasive fruit fly, Drosophila suzukii, better known as spotted wing Drosophila or SWD. First introduced to the United States in 2008, SWD has spread rapidly from cherry farms in California to blueberry fields in my home state of Maine. While other fruit flies feed on over-ripe or rotting fruit, SWD prefer to lay their eggs in ripe fruit—right when the fruit is ready for harvest.

For a few years, I have developed models for the Scott lab to simulate the performance of various gene drive strains. This work has involved determining appropriate release ratios in cage trials, estimating the time to eradication in cage trials, estimating key drive parameters, statistical analyses, and more. Some of my work appeared in a recent publication.