Genetic engineering tech promises to sterilize disease-spreading mosquitoes

B. Hays,  UPI,  2021.

Inspired by improvements in CRISPR-based genetic engineering, scientists have developed a more precise insect sterilization system to curtail, or even eliminate, disease-spreading Aedes aegypti mosquito populations. The so-called “precision-guided sterile insect technique,” or pgSIT, relies on gene alterations that disrupt fertility in males and flight in females. Gene-altered males are released into a problematic population to compete with healthy males. “pgSIT is a new scalable genetic control system that uses a CRISPR-based approach to engineer deployable mosquitoes that can suppress populations,” corresponding author Omar Akbari said in a press release. Map of malaria parasite’s gene activity reveals new targets for drugs, vaccines “Males don’t transmit diseases so the idea is that as you release more and more sterile males, you can suppress the population without relying on harmful chemicals and insecticides,” said Akbari, a professor of biological sciences at the University of California, San Diego.

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