Researchers discover way to eliminate malaria carrying mosquitoes

S. Digon,  International Business Times,  2020.

Researchers from the Imperial College London have come up with a genetic modification that will pave the way for the elimination of malaria mosquitoes. Scientists say that the alteration distorts the sex ratio of caged Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes using what they call a ‘gene drive’ technology.

The modification of the research team forces mosquitoes to produce more male offspring, which may eventually lead to no females being born. This could facilitate the total collapse of their population. The experiment is the first successful sex-altering gene drive ever developed, a benchmark for scientists, as the modifications are expected to be very effective at regulating natural mosquito populations.

Researchers are hoping that the Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes with sex-distorter gene drive will be spreading the male bias in the future and cause local malaria-carrying mosquitoes’ populations to collapse. Since only females bite and consume blood meals, it is only them who can pass on the disease. This means the modification could cause a double effect by biasing the mosquitoes’ population towards lesser females even before their population collapses.

The lab-based trials were performed on caged populations of mosquitoes and more tests are needed before the researchers consider releasing any of these modified mosquitoes in the wild.


More related to this:

Researchers convert female mosquitoes to nonbiting males with implications for mosquito control

Researchers’ Plan To Release Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Trees in Forests Will Set Dangerous Precedents If Approved

Fighting malaria with gene-drive technology

Next-generation gene drive for population modification of the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae

Efficient population modification gene-drive rescue system in the malaria mosquito Anopheles stephensi