Advances and challenges in synthetic biology for mosquito control

Shih-Che Weng, Reem A. Masri, Omar S. Akbari,  Trends in Parasitology,  2023.

Mosquito-borne illnesses represent a significant global health peril, resulting in approximately one million fatalities annually. West Nile, dengue, Zika, and malaria are continuously expanding their global reach, driven by factors that escalate mosquito populations and pathogen transmission. Innovative control measures are imperative to combat these catastrophic ailments. Conventional approaches, such as eliminating breeding sites and using insecticides, have been helpful, but they face challenges such as insecticide resistance and environmental harm. Given the mounting severity of mosquito-borne diseases, there is promise in exploring innovative approaches using synthetic biology to bolster mosquitoes’ resistance to pathogens, or even eliminate the mosquito vectors, as a means of control. This review outlines current strategies, future goals, and the importance of gene editing for global health defenses against mosquito-borne diseases.

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