SPOTLIGHT: Gene Drives for Malaria Elimination in Africa

Ifakara Health Institute,  YouTube,  2024.
This SPOTLIGHT Series features Dr. Marceline Finda, a distinguished Research Scientist at Ifakara Health Institute. The insightful 20-minute discussion centered around the topic: "Gene Drives for Malaria Elimination in Africa."
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Meiotic drive against chromosome fusions in butterfly hybrids

Jesper Boman, Christer Wiklund, Roger Vila, Niclas Backström,  bioRxiv,  2024.
Species frequently differ in karyotype, but heterokaryotypic individuals may suffer from reduced fitness. Chromosomal rearrangements like fissions and fusions can thus serve as a mechanism for speciation between incipient lineages but their evolution poses a paradox. How does ...
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Recombinant venom proteins in insect seminal fluid reduces female lifespan

Samuel J. Beach, Maciej Maselko,  bioRxiv,  2024.
The emergence of insecticide resistance has increased the need for alternative pest management tools1,2 Numerous genetic biocontrol approaches, which involve the release of genetically modified organisms to control pest populations, are in various stages of development to provide ...
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Perspectives of African stakeholders on gene drives for malaria control and elimination: a multi-country survey

Finda, M.F., Juma, E.O., Kahamba, N.F. et al.,  Malaria Journal,  22:8384. 2023.
Gene drive modified mosquitoes (GDMMs) have the potential to address Africa’s persistent malaria problem, but are still in early stages of development and testing. Continuous engagement of African stakeholders is crucial for successful evaluation and implementation of these ...
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CRISPR/Cas9: a cutting-edge solution for combatting the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda

Gouda, M.N.R., Jeevan, H., Shashank, H.G.,  Molecular Biology Reports,  51. 2023.
The utilization of CRISPR/Cas9 in Spodoptera frugiperda, commonly known as fall armyworm, presents a groundbreaking avenue for pest management. With its ability to precisely modify the insect’s genome, CRISPR/Cas9 offers innovative strategies to combat this destructive pest. ...
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Transformative Approaches for Sustainable Weed Management: The Power of Gene Drive and CRISPR-Cas9

Kumam, Y.; Trick, H.N.; Vara Prasad, P.V.; Jugulam, M.,  Genes,  14. 2023.
Weeds can negatively impact crop yields and the ecosystem’s health. While many weed management strategies have been developed and deployed, there is a greater need for the development of sustainable methods for employing integrated weed management. Gene drive systems can be ...
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Anopheles gambiae on remote islands in the Indian Ocean: origins and prospects for malaria elimination by genetic modification of extant populations

Ditter, R.E., Campos, M., Crepeau, M.W. et al.,  Scientific Reports,  13. 2023.
The mosquito Anopheles gambiae s.s. is a primary malaria vector throughout sub-Saharan Africa including the islands of the Comoros archipelago (Anjouan, Grande Comore, Mayotte and Mohéli). These islands are located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel in eastern Africa. ...
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Engineering mice for female-biased progeny without impacting genetic integrity and litter size

Ido Yosef, Tridib Mahata, Yuhuang Chen, Hadas Bar-Joseph, Ruth Shalgi, Ariel Munitz, Motti Gerlic, Udi Qimron,  bioRxiv,  2023.
Generating mammalian gametes with a skewed sex ratio has thus far eluded empirical confirmation. The utilization of such genetically engineered organisms would offer the potential to curtail the necessity for culling animals of undesirable sex, mitigate resource wastage, and ...
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Framing Challenges and Opportunities for Canada: Expert Panel on Regulating Gene-Edited Organisms for Pest Control

CCA (Council of Canadian Academies),  Framing Challenges and Opportunities for Canada,  2023.
Gene-editing technologies are changing approaches to pest management. Rapidly evolving but unproven gene-editing tools could potentially mitigate the impacts of pests in public health, conservation, and agricultural contexts. The use of these tools, however, is accompanied by ...
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Transformative Novel Technologies and Global Environmental Governance

F. Rabitz,  Cambridge University Press,  2023.
Transformative Novel Technologies are potential gamechangers for confronting climate change, biodiversity loss, and many other elements of the global environmental crisis, allowing us to achieve a more sustainable future. The contemporary and future international governance of ...
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Symbiotic Wolbachia in mosquitoes and its role in reducing the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases: updates and prospects

A. Minwuyelet, G. P. Petronio, D. Yewhalaw, A. Sciarretta, I. Magnifico, D. Nicolosi, R. Di Marco and G. Atenafu,  Frontiers in Microbiology,  14. 2023.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, Zika fever, and filariasis have the greatest health and economic impact. These mosquito-borne diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Due to the ...
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Biotechnological Potential of Microorganisms for Mosquito Population Control and Reduction in Vector Competence

R. D. Katak, A. M. Cintra, B. C. Burini, O. Marinotti, J. A. Souza-Neto and E. M. Rocha,  Insects,  14. 2023.
Mosquitoes transmit pathogens that cause human diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever, Zika fever, and filariasis. Biotechnological approaches using microorganisms have a significant potential to control mosquito populations and reduce their vector ...
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Incorporating ecology into gene drive modelling

J. Kim, K. D. Harris, I. K. Kim, S. Shemesh, P. W. Messer and G. Greenbaum,  Ecology Letters,  26:S62-S80. 2023.
Abstract Gene drive technology, in which fast-spreading engineered drive alleles are introduced into wild populations, represents a promising new tool in the fight against vector-borne diseases, agricultural pests and invasive species. Due to the risks involved, gene drives have ...
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Millions of Mosquitoes Will Rain Down on Hawaii to Save an Iconic Bird

S. Wild,  Scientific American,  2023.
Millions of mosquitoes dropped from helicopters could be the greatest hope for Hawaii’s iconic honeycreepers. At least four species of the brightly colored birds could go extinct within the year if no action is taken to save them. “We’re seriously in a race against time at ...
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Measuring the Impact of Genetic Heterogeneity and Chromosomal Inversions on the Efficacy of CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Drives in Different Strains of Anopheles gambiae

Pescod, Poppy Bevivino, Giulia Anthousi, Amalia Shelton, Ruth Shepherd, Josephine Lombardo, Fabrizio Nolan, Tony,  The CRISPR Journal,  2023.
The human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae is becoming increasingly resistant to insecticides, spurring the development of genetic control strategies. CRISPR-Cas9 gene drives can modify a population by creating double-stranded breaks at highly specific targets, triggering copying ...
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Gene drive and genetic sex conversion in the global agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata

A. Meccariello, S. Hou, S. Davydova, J. Fawcett, A. Siddall, P. Leftwich, T. , F. Krsticevic, P. A. Papathanos and N. Windbichler,  bioRxiv,  2023.08.16.553191. 2023.
Homing-based gene drives are novel interventions promising the area-wide, species-specific genetic control of harmful insect populations. Here we characterise a first set of gene drives in a tephritid agricultural pest species, the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata ...
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Gene drives for invasive wasp control: Extinction is unlikely, with suppression dependent on dispersal and growth rates

P. J. Lester, D. O'Sullivan and G. L. W. Perry,  Ecological Applications,  2023.
Abstract Gene drives offer a potentially revolutionary method for pest control over large spatial extents. These genetic modifications spread deleterious variants through a population and have been proposed as methods for pest suppression or even eradication. We examined the ...
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Single-cell profiling of Anopheles gambiae spermatogenesis defines the onset of meiotic silencing and premeiotic overexpression of the X chromosome

N. Page, C. Taxiarchi, D. Tonge, J. Kuburic, E. Chesters, A. Kriezis, K. Kyrou, L. Game, T. Nolan and R. Galizi,  Commun Biol,  6:850. 2023.
Understanding development and genetic regulation in the Anopheles gambiae germline is essential to engineer effective genetic control strategies targeting this malaria mosquito vector. These include targeting the germline to induce sterility or using regulatory sequences to drive ...
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Proposed Changes to the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines)

National Institutes of Health,  Federal Register,  2023.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks input on a proposal to revise the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines) to include specific considerations and requirements for conducting research involving gene drive ...
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wMel replacement of dengue-competent mosquitoes is robust to near-term change

V. N. Vásquez, L. M. Kueppers, G. Rašić and J. M. Marshall,  Nature Climate Change,  13:848-855. 2023.
Rising temperatures are impacting the range and prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases. A promising biocontrol technology replaces wild mosquitoes with those carrying the virus-blocking Wolbachia bacterium. Because the most widely used strain, wMel, is adversely affected by heat ...
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