The diagram above explains Cytoplasmic Incompatibility and how by releasing a limited number of mosquitoes with Wolbachia to breed with wild type mosquitoes, over a small number of generations, will result in all the mosquitoes having Wolbachia.
a) When male mosquitoes with Wolbachia mate with female wild mosquitoes that don’t have Wolbachia those females will have eggs but they won’t hatch.
b) When male mosquitoes with Wolbachia mate with females that are already carrying Wolbachia the mating will be normal and the offspring will all have Wolbachia.
c) When female mosquitoes with Wolbachia mate with males without Wolbachia all her offspring will have Wolbachia.
Many different strains of Wolbachia
Eliminate Dengue is currently field-testing two Wolbachia strains - wMel and wMelPop - with other Wolbachia strains in different stages of development.
Each strain has a slightly different effect on the mosquito’s fitness and consequently how easily it will establish in the wild mosquito population once it is released. Wolbachia strains also differ in terms of their ability to block dengue virus inside the mosquito. Over time we hope to select strains that have a strong blocking effect on dengue virus in the mosquito and therefore prevent dengue transmission and yet are easily introduced into mosquitoes in the field and thereby provide a low-cost, long-term solution to dengue control.