Novel gene drive based on eliciting piRNA biogenesis in insect pests

C. Henderson and B. Christina,  Rutgers Research,  2022.

Rutgers researchers have developed a potential permanent solution to persistent pest control issues by developing a system for genetic modification which could reduce the transmission of vector borne diseases (like malaria) from their insect vectors, or to establish expression of a desirable trait such as Bacillus thuringiensis susceptibility in crop pests. The inventors have demonstrated their solution through a transgenic construct that expresses an anti-malaria peptide in Anopheles gambiae alongside piRNAs which are designed to direct silencing towards a host gene required for reproduction. If the host silences the genetic construct, this silencing will be directed towards the host gene resulting in infertility.  This platform can be used to create a gene drive that can prevent resistance formation and allow for rapid spread of a trait within a population

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