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Investigating CRISPR/Cas9 gene drive for production of disease-preventing prion gene alleles

A. R. Castle, S. Wohlgemuth, L. Arce and D. Westaway,  PLoS One,  17:e0269342. 2022.
Prion diseases are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders that includes chronic wasting disease, which affects cervids and is highly transmissible. Given that chronic wasting disease prevalence exceeds 30% in some endemic areas of North America, and that eventual ...
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Gene Editing and Genetic Control of Hemipteran Pests: Progress, Challenges and Perspectives

I. D. Pacheco, L. L. Walling and P. W. Atkinson,  Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology,  10. 2022.
The origin of the order Hemiptera can be traced to the late Permian Period more than 230 MYA, well before the origin of flowering plants 100 MY later in during the Cretaceous period. Hemipteran species consume their liquid diets using a sucking proboscis; for phytophagous ...
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The Cif proteins from Wolbachia prophage WO modify sperm genome integrity to establish cytoplasmic incompatibility

R. Kaur, B. A. Leigh, I. T. Ritchie and S. R. Bordenstein,  PLOS Biology,  20:e3001584. 2022.
In Drosophila melanogaster, germline expression of the Wolbachia proteins CifA and CifB causes cytoplasmic incompatibility, but how this impairs male reproduction remains unclear. This study shows how Cif proteins encoded by the endosymbiont prophage invade the fly’s gametic ...
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Intronic gRNAs for the Construction of Minimal Gene Drive Systems

A. Nash, P. Capriotti, A. Hoermann, P. A. Papathanos and N. Windbichler,  Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology,  10. 2022.
Gene drives are promising tools for the genetic control of insect vector or pest populations. CRISPR-based gene drives are generally highly complex synthetic constructs consisting of multiple transgenes and their respective regulatory elements. This complicates the generation of ...
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The principles driving gene drives for conservation

S. Hartley, R. Taitingfong and P. Fidelman,  Environmental Science and Policy,  135:36-45. 2022.
Gene drive technology is an emerging biotechnology with the potential to address some of the most intractable global biodiversity conservation issues. Scientists are exploring potential gene drive applications for managing invasive species and building resilience in keystone ...
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Engineering a self-eliminating transgene in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti

K. Chae, C. Dawson, C. Valentin, B. Contreras, J. Zapletal, K. M. Myles and Z. N. Adelman,  PNAS Nexus,  2022.
Promising genetics-based approaches are being developed to reduce or prevent the transmission of mosquito-vectored diseases. Less clear is how such transgenes can be removed from the environment, a concern that is particularly relevant for highly invasive gene drive transgenes. ...
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Propagation of seminal toxins through binary expression gene drives could suppress populations

J. Hurtado, S. Revale and L. M. Matzkin,  Scientific Reports,  12:6332. 2022.
Gene drives can be highly effective in controlling a target population by disrupting a female fertility gene. To spread across a population, these drives require that disrupted alleles be largely recessive so as not to impose too high of a fitness penalty. We argue that this ...
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Cas9-mediated maternal-effect and derived resistance alleles in a gene-drive strain of the African malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae

R. Carballar-Lejarazú, T. Tushar, T. B. Pham and A. A. James,  Genetics,  2022.
CRISPR/Cas9 technologies are important tools for the development of gene-drive systems to modify mosquito vector populations to control the transmission of pathogens that cause diseases such as malaria. However, one of the challenges for current Cas9-based drive systems is their ...
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Overview of paratransgenesis as a strategy to control pathogen transmission by insect vectors

N. A. Ratcliffe, J. P. Furtado Pacheco, P. Dyson, H. C. Castro, M. S. Gonzalez, P. Azambuja and C. B. Mello,  Parasites and Vectors,  15:112. 2022.
This article presents an overview of paratransgenesis as a strategy to control pathogen transmission by insect vectors. It first briefly summarises some of the disease-causing pathogens vectored by insects and emphasises the need for innovative control methods to counter the ...
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Field Suppression of Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) (Drosophila suzukii Matsumura) Using the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)

R. A. Homem, Z. Mateos-Fierro, R. Jones, D. Gilbert, A. R. McKemey, G. Slade and M. T. Fountain,  Insects,  13. 2022.
Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila—SWD) is an economically important pest of soft and stone fruit worldwide. Control relies on broad-spectrum insecticides, which are neither fully effective nor environmentally sustainable. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a ...
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Symbionts and gene drive: two strategies to combat vector-borne disease

G.-H. Wang, J. Du, C. Y. Chu, M. Madhav, G. L. Hughes and J. Champer,  Trends in Genetics,  2022.
Mosquitoes bring global health problems by transmitting parasites and viruses such as malaria and dengue. Unfortunately, current insecticide-based control strategies are only moderately effective because of high cost and resistance. Thus, scalable, sustainable, and cost-effective ...
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Combining two Genetic Sexing Strains allows sorting of non-transgenic males for Aedes genetic control

C. Lutrat, M. Burckbuchler, R. P. Olmo, R. Beugnon, A. Fontaine, T. Baldet, J. Bouyer and E. Marois,  bioRxiv,  2022.03.11.483912. 2022.
Chemical control of the mosquito vectors Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti is costly, unsustainable, and increasingly ineffective due to the spread of insecticide resistance. The Sterile Insect Technique is an autocidal control tactic that represents a valuable alternative but ...
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Evaluation of anti-malaria potency of wild and genetically modified Enterobacter cloacae expressing effector proteins in Anopheles stephensi

H. Dehghan, S. H. Mosa-Kazemi, B. Yakhchali, N. Maleki-Ravasan, H. Vatandoost and M. A. Oshaghi,  Parasites and Vectors,  15:63. 2022.
Malaria is one of the most lethal infectious diseases in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Paratransgenesis using symbiotic bacteria offers a sustainable and environmentally friendly strategy to combat this disease. In the study reported here, we evaluated the ...
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Gene drive mosquitoes can aid malaria elimination by retarding Plasmodium sporogonic development

A. Hoermann, T. Habtewold, P. Selvaraj, G. Del Corsano, P. Capriotti, M. G. Inghilterra, K. M. Temesgen, G. K. Christophides and N. Windbichler,  bioRxiv,  2022.02.15.480588. 2022.
Gene drives hold promise for the genetic control of malaria vectors. The development of vector population modification strategies hinges on the availability of effector mechanisms impeding parasite development in transgenic mosquitoes. We augmented a midgut gene of the malaria ...
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Mark-release-recapture experiment in Burkina Faso demonstrates reduced fitness and dispersal of genetically-modified sterile malaria mosquitoes

F. A. Yao, A.-A. Millogo, P. S. Epopa, A. North, F. Noulin, K. Dao, M. Drabo, C. Guissou, S. Kekele, M. Namountougou, R. K. Ouedraogo, L. Pare, N. Barry, R. Sanou, H. Wandaogo, R. K. Dabire, A. McKemey, F. Tripet and A. Diabaté,  Nature Communications,  13:796. 2022.
Every year, malaria kills approximately 405,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa, most of them children under the age of five years. In many countries, progress in malaria control has been threatened by the rapid spread of resistance to antimalarial drugs and insecticides. Novel ...
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A flavivirus-inducible gene expression system that modulates broad-spectrum antiviral activity against dengue and Zika viruses

S.-C. Weng, Y.-X. Zhou and S.-H. Shiao,  Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,  142:103723. 2022.
Incidence of dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV), two mosquito-borne flaviviruses, is increasing in large parts of the world. Vaccination and medication for these diseases are unsatisfactory. Here, we developed a novel antiviral approach, using a virus-inducible gene ...
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Self-limiting fall armyworm: a new approach in development for sustainable crop protection and resistance management

C. E. Reavey, A. S. Walker, S. P. Joyce, L. Broom, A. Willse, K. Ercit, M. Poletto, Z. H. Barnes, T. Marubbi, B. J. Troczka, D. Treanor, K. Beadle, B. Granville, V. de Mello, J. Teal, E. Sulston, A. Ashton, L. Akilan, N. Naish, O. Stevens, N. Humphreys-Jo,  BMC Biotechnology,  22:5. 2022.
Here, we describe the first germline transformation of the fall armyworm and the development of a genetically engineered male-selecting self-limiting strain, OX5382G, which exhibits complete female mortality in the absence of an additive in the larval diet. Laboratory experiments ...
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Monitoring Needs for Gene Drive Mosquito Projects: Lessons From Vector Control Field Trials and Invasive Species

G. Rašić, N. F. Lobo, E. H. Jeffrey Gutiérrez, C. H. Sánchez and J. M. Marshall,  Frontiers in Genetics,  12:780327. 2022.
As gene drive mosquito projects advance from contained laboratory testing to semi-field testing and small-scale field trials, there is a need to assess monitoring requirements to: i) assist with the effective introduction of the gene drive system at field sites, and ii) detect ...
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The Need for a Tiered Registry for US Gene Drive Governance

K. L. Warmbrod, A. L. Kobokovich, R. West, G. K. Gronvall and M. Montague,  Health Security,  2022.
A great deal of attention has been focused on the potential risks of gene drives, the kinds of biosafety protections they may require, and how they may be reversed; however, less attention has been paid to the systems that would be useful to have in place in the future, when ...
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Facilitating the Conversation: Gene Drive Classification

J. Overcash and A. Golnar,  Health Security,  2021.
Gene drives are an emerging technology with tremendous potential to impact public health, agriculture, and conservation. While gene drives can be described simply as selfish genetic elements (natural or engineered) that are inherited at non-Mendelian rates, upon closer ...
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