The use of transcriptional profiles to predict adult mosquito age under field conditions

Peter Cook, Leon Hugo, Inaki Iturbe-Ormaetxe, Craig Williams, Stephen Chenoweth, Scott Ritchie, Peter Rayn, Brian Kay, Mark Blows, Scott Leslie O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


Age is a critical determinant of an adult female mosquito s ability to transmit a range of human pathogens. Despite its central importance, relatively few methods exist with which to accurately determine chronological age of field-caught mosquitoes. This fact is a major constraint on our ability to fully understand the relative importance of vector longevity to disease transmission in different ecological contexts. It also limits our ability to evaluate novel disease control strategies that specifically target mosquito longevity. We report the development of a transcriptional profiling approach to determine age of adult female Aedes aegypti under field conditions. We demonstrate that this approach surpasses current cuticular hydrocarbon methods for both accuracy of predicted age as well as the upper limits at which age can be reliably predicted. The method is based on genes that display age-dependent expression in a range of dipteran insects and, as such, is likely to be broadly applicable to other disease vectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18060 - 18065
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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