Gene drive used to turn all female mosquitos sterile

Timmer, J,  ARS Technica,  2018.

We’ve known for a long time that we can limit malaria infections by controlling the mosquitos that transmit them. But that knowledge hasn’t translated into control efforts that have always been completely successful. Many of the approaches we’ve used to control mosquitos have caused environmental problems, and mosquito populations are large enough that they have evolved resistance to many of our pesticides.; ; That made the development of what are called “gene drive” constructs exciting (if a bit scary). They have the potential to rapidly spread genes throughout a population—including a mosquito population. But the prospect of a modern genetic control of mosquito populations has run up against the very old problem of evolution, as the gene drives often stall due to genetic changes that allow mosquito populations to escape their impact.