Testing non-autonomous antimalarial gene drive effectors using self-eliminating drivers in the African mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae

D. A. Ellis, G. Avraam, A. Hoermann, C. A. S. Wyer, Y. X. Ong, G. K. Christophides and N. Windbichler,  PLOS Genetics,  18:e1010244. 2022.

Author summary Gene drive is a method that allows the genetic modification of entire populations of harmful organisms. Their application to tackle invasive species, agricultural pests or insect disease vectors has been suggested. For example, they could reduce the capacity of malaria mosquitoes to transmit this deadly disease to humans by producing effector molecules inhibiting the development of the Plasmodium parasite in the mosquito vector. We describe a strategy to modularize and test multiple transgenes destined for release, and to introduce only the minimal set of modifications needed into a mosquito population. We show how some elements, once no longer needed, can be made to self-eliminate from populations and we also study how several independent gene drive traits, located in different parts of the genome, can interact and propagate at the level of mosquito cage populations.

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