Scientists use gene editing tool to target mosquito-spread disease

Medical Research Council,  Phys Org,  2021.

Advances in genome editing have allowed the development of genetic insect control methods, which could be highly effective and are species-specific. The results have been published in Scientific Reports. Scientists showed that a method involving a gene editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9 could be used to successfully introduce a gene for a fluorescent protein into the genome of southern house mosquitoes. The gene could be passed on to the next generation through mating. This is a vital component of generating genetic pest management tools. It will allow the desired traits (such as the inability to spread a disease or produce fertile offspring) to be spread throughout a population. The inserted gene produces red fluorescence proteins so that mosquitoes with one or more edited gene fluoresce red. Scientists targeted an eye color gene for the insertion site of the fluorescence gene so mosquitoes that inherited two edited genes from their parents would have white eyes, not black. Both these traits make it easier for scientists to easily identify mosquitoes whose genomes had been modified.

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