Malaria mosquitoes eliminated in lab by creating all-male offsprings
Imperial College London-led team used ‘gene drive’ technology to spread genetic modification that distorted sex ratio through caged breed of malaria mosquitoes. This caused mosquitoes to produce more male offspring, eventually leading to no female birth. The study suggested such mosquitoes carrying a sex-distorter gene drive could help spread male bias within local malaria-carrying populations.
The team’s modification causes mosquitoes to produce more male offspring, eventually leading to no females being born and a total collapse in the population. This represents the first successful sex-distorter gene drive ever created, a goal for scientists as these modifications are expected to be extremely effective at controlling natural mosquito populations.
There were 228 million cases of malaria in 2018, and 405,000 deaths, with new interventions needed to move towards malaria eradication. There are around 3500 species of mosquito worldwide, of which only 40 related species can carry malaria. The team’s modification was applied to Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the main malaria vector in sub-Saharan Africa.
The hope is that Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes carrying a sex-distorter gene drive would be released in the future, spreading the male bias within local malaria-carrying mosquito populations and causing them to collapse.
More related to this:
Fighting malaria with gene-drive technology
Recommendations for Laboratory Containment and Management of Gene Drive Systems in Arthropods
Segregation analysis of a sex ratio distortion locus in congenic mice
Meiotic drive and sex determination: molecular and cytological mechanisms of sex ratio adjustment in birds
Combinations of Spok genes create multiple meiotic drivers in Podospora