Irradiation doses currently applied to sterilize Mexican fruit flies, Anastrepha ludens (Loew) (Diptera: Tephritidae), for release under the sterile insect technique eradication campaign in Mexico, were reviewed in an effort to increase sterile male performance in the field. A dose maximizing sterility induction into wild populations was sought by balancing somatic fitness with genetic sterility. Doses of 40, 60, and 80 Gy induced 95% or more sterility in all males, which in turn induced similar degrees of sterility into a cohort of wild flies in the laboratory. However, a low dose of 40 Gy was sufficient to completely suppress egg production in females. Similarly, a mild carryover of genetic damage might have been transferred to the F1 progeny of males irradiated at 40 Gy crossed with fertile wild females. Our results suggest that the 80-Gy dose currently applied in Mexico can be lowered substantially without jeopardizing program goals. This view could be strengthened by comparing performance of males irradiated at different doses under more natural settings. In general, we discuss the value of determining irradiation doses for pest species where females are more radiosensitive than males, by selecting the dose that causes 100% sterility in females.
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Vol. 100 • No. 4