Applying Population Genetics and GIS for Managing Livestock Insect Pests


Livestock insect pests, such as screwworm and tsetse flies, cause severe losses to livestock systems, wildlife and even affect humans in vast areas all over the world. There is broad international consensus that intervention campaigns against such pests should be based on the area-wide concept of integrated pest management (AW-IPM) and that the sterile insect technique (SIT) is to be considered as a key tactic for creating pest-free areas. In the past years three new 'tools' became available that have big potential to improve the planning, implementation and progress-monitoring of AW-IPM campaigns with a SIT component: a) modelling of pest population dynamics; b) satellite-imagery-derived distribution and prediction maps and other Geographic Information System (GIS) aided data processing; and c) information on population genetics, providing evidence on isolation or confinement of target pest populations. However, these techniques are insufficiently refined and standardized and not adequately accessible for collaborators in Member States.

A consultants meeting held in Vienna in April 2007 aimed at advising the IAEA regarding action to address the above points. The meeting involved major experts on a) molecular techniques used for population genetics of tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) and new and old world screwworm flies (Cochliomyia hominivorax and Chrysomya bezziana); b) specialists in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS), applying these techniques in the field of area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) in general or managing livestock insect pests, particularly tsetse and screwworm flies; and c) specialists in modelling insect pests population dynamics.


Based on the recommendations of the consultants meeting the IAEA carried out this CRP, under which techniques and networks were developed to enable collaborators in Member States to benefit from the mentioned new technologies by a) exploring computer simulation modelling for a better understanding of and predicting insect pest population dynamics; b) standardizing GIS and population genetic techniques for broad and practical use by insect control personnel in Member States; and c) generating an open-access data base for various relevant information.


Twelve participating countries: Australia, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, United Kingdom, USA, and Yemen.


  • The final proceedings of the CRP are available in the Acta Tropica.