Scientists develop new technology that gives greater control for managing malaria mosquitoes

Keele University,  Phy Org,  2021.

Researchers including a Keele University scientist have engineered an innovative approach to disable highly powerful genetic devices that control harmful insect populations. Dr. Roberto Galizi from Keele’s School of Life Sciences was part of a research team that previously developed gene drive technologies that proved highly effective in eliminating populations of mosquitoes in the laboratory, offering a powerful new strategy to prevent deadly vector-borne disease such as malaria. Gene drive elements inserted in the mosquito genome can rapidly spread genetic modifications, such as impairment of fertility, throughout the entire population target by biasing their genetic inheritance after mating with wild insects. The gene drive technologies show great potential for suppressing the mosquito species that transmit malaria with increased power compared to other methods, thanks to their capacity to self-spread through the population. However, this also makes it difficult to retain control of this technology once released. So to combat this, the researchers have now developed an innovative and highly effective technology that allows them to control and even reverse the effects of gene drives.

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