Scientists reveal controversial genetically modified mosquitoes in high-security lab

The Frontier Post,  The Frontier Post,  2021.

Many years of additional research will be needed to prove the approach works and the mosquitoes would be safe to release into the wild. The project would also require regulatory approval and agreement by local residents in areas where those mosquitoes live, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Despite years of efforts, malaria remains a major health problem. The mosquito-borne parasitic disease sickens more than 200 million people every year and kills more than 400,000, many of whom are children. So Muller and her colleagues decided to use CRISPR, a technique that enables scientists to easily make very precise changes in DNA to genetically modify the Anopheles gambiae species of mosquito, which spreads malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The modification consisted of a mutation in a gene known as “doublesex,” which female mosquitoes need for normal development. The mutation deforms their mouths, making them unable to bite and spread the parasite. It also deforms their reproductive organs, rendering them unable to lay eggs. The mutation is combined with a gene drive, “effectively a selfish type of genetic element that spreads itself in the mosquito population,” says Tony Nolan of the Liverpool School of Tropical

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