CRISPR’d Mosquitoes With All-Male Offspring Could Help Eradicate Malaria

V. B. Ramirez,  Singuarity Hub,  2023.

Though at least one vaccine for malaria is in use, it remains one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Almost half of the world’s population lives in areas where malaria transmission occurs, and an estimated 619,000 people died of the disease in 2021. Worse yet, the vast majority of cases leading to death are in young children. Researchers from the University of California in San Diego may have found a way to reduce this burden of disease. They used the gene editing tool CRISPR to alter a gene that controls sexual development in mosquitoes. Male mosquitoes don’t bite humans; it’s the females that spread malaria and other diseases. The UCSD team’s method uses gene editing to kill all female mosquito offspring within a given population of the insects. The mosquito species in question is Anopheles gambiae, commonly called the African malaria mosquito and described as “the most efficient vector of human malaria.” They’re anthropophilic, meaning they like human blood more than animal blood, and they thrive in hot climates with a lot of moisture. Why such an insect exists in the first place is hard to comprehend, is it not?

More related to this: