Malarial mosquitoes suppressed in experiments that mimic natural environments

H. Dunning,  Phys Org,  2021.

Researchers have shown “gene drive” technology, which spreads a genetic modification blocking female reproduction, works in natural-like settings. The team, led by researchers from Imperial College London, Polo GGB and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine were able to suppress populations of a malaria-carrying mosquito in a year-long experiment mimicking natural environments. This is the first time a gene drive has been shown to be as effective as expected when tested in challenging ecological conditions over a long timescale. The results are published today in Nature Communications. Despite the reduction in malaria over recent decades, there were still 229 million cases of malaria in 2019—an increase on the previous year—and 409,000 deaths. Co-lead author of the study Dr. Drew Hammond, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London and the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, said: “The challenges facing malaria elimination have intensified in recent years, due in part to the spread of insecticide resistance and large gaps in funding for parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

More related to this:

Gene drives to fight malaria: current state and future directions

Gene drive turns mosquitoes into malaria fighters

Here’s the Plan to End Malaria With Crispr-Edited Mosquitoes

Using gene drive technologies to control vector-borne infectious diseases

Fighting malaria with genetically modified mosquitoes