Keywords: gambiae

A genetically encoded anti-CRISPR protein constrains gene drive spread and prevents population suppression

C. Taxiarchi, A. Beaghton, N. I. Don, K. Kyrou, M. Gribble, D. Shittu, S. P. Collins, C. L. Beisel, R. Galizi and A. Crisanti,  Nature Communications,  12:3977. 2021.
CRISPR-based gene drives offer promising means to reduce the burden of pests and vector-borne diseases. These techniques consist of releasing genetically modified organisms carrying CRISPR-Cas nucleases designed to bias their inheritance and rapidly propagate desired ...
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A lab experiment shows that we could engineer malaria-carrying mosquitoes to kill themselves off

A. Micu,  ZME Science,  2021.
A new paper showcases how genetic engineering can be used to cause populations of malaria-spreading mosquitoes to self-destroy. An international research effort has shown, in the context of a lab experiment, that male mosquitoes engineered to carry a certain strand of DNA can ...
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Abundance of conserved CRISPR-Cas9 target sites within the highly polymorphic genomes of Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes

H. Schmidt, T. C. Collier, M. J. Hanemaaijer, P. D. Houston, Y. Lee and G. C. Lanzaro,  Nature Communications,  11. 2020.
ere we report the results of a survey of 1280 genomes of the mosquitoes Anopheles gambiae, An. coluzzii, and Aedes aegypti in which we determine that similar to 90% of all protein-encoding CGD target genes in natural populations include at least one target site with no DRAs at a ...
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Assessing the acoustic behaviour of Anopheles gambiae (s.l.) dsxF mutants: implications for vector control

M. P. Su, M. Georgiades, J. Bagi, K. Kyrou, A. Crisanti and J. T. Albert,  Parasites and Vectors,  13:507. 2020.
We analysed sound emissions and acoustic preference in a doublesex mutant previously used to collapse Anopheles gambiae (s.l.) cages.
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Breeding Malaria Out: Scientists Engineer Mosquitos to Spread Antimalaria Genes

L. Papadopoulos,  INTERSTING ENGINEERING,  2021.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), malaria is a "serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans." There are four types of malaria parasites: Plasmodium falciparum, P. ...
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Converting endogenous genes of the malaria mosquito into simple non-autonomous gene drives for population replacement

A. Hoermann, S. Tapanelli, P. Capriotti, G. Del Corsano, E. K. G. Masters, T. Habtewold, G. K. Christophides and N. Windbichler,  eLife,  10. 2021.
Gene drives for mosquito population replacement are promising tools for malaria control. However, there is currently no clear pathway for safely testing such tools in endemic countries. The lack of well-characterized promoters for infection-relevant tissues and regulatory hurdles ...
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Curbing Malaria’s Spread by Genetic Engineering

Anonymous,  Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News,  2021.
There is an urgent need to find new ways to combat the growing mosquito resistance to pesticides and malaria parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs. Gene drives are being tested as a new approach. In a new study, researchers from the Imperial College London reported that their ...
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Double drives and private alleles for localised population genetic control

K. Willis and A. Burt,  bioRxiv,  2021.01.08.425856. 2021.
In this paper we propose and model a series of low threshold double drive designs for population suppression, each consisting of two constructs, one imposing a reproductive load on the population and the other inserted into a differentiated locus and controlling the drive of the ...
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Double drives and private alleles for localised population genetic control

K. Willis and A. Burt,  PLOS Genetics,  17. 2021.
ynthetic gene drive systems that are able to spread though populations because they are inherited at a greater-than-Mendelian rate have the potential to form the basis for new, highly efficient pest control measures. The most efficient such strategies use natural gene flow to ...
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Experts oppose plan to breed mosquitoes

T. Abet,  Daily Monitor,  2021.
Environmentalists have opposed the plan to breed and release genetically modified mosquitoes in the country to curb malaria prevalence. They say the act presents substantial human and environmental health risks. Their objection follows last week’s announcement by scientists ...
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Gene-drive suppression of mosquito populations in large cages as a bridge between lab and field

A. Hammond, P. Pollegioni, T. Persampieri, A. North, R. Minuz, A. Trusso, A. Bucci, K. Kyrou, I. Morianou, A. Simoni, T. Nolan, R. Müller and A. Crisanti,  Nature Communications,  12:4589. 2021.
CRISPR-based gene-drives targeting the gene doublesex in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae effectively suppressed the reproductive capability of mosquito populations reared in small laboratory cages. To bridge the gap between laboratory and the field, this gene-drive ...
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Gene-Drive Technology Could Decimate Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes–Scientists Use CRISPR to Modify the Insects’ Genes

J. Henry,  Tech Times,  2021.
Gene-drive technology can now suppress the growing numbers of mosquitoes that carry malaria. A group of researchers discovered that this gene-editing technique can eradicate the vectors that could rapidly populate in a particular environment. A mosquito (Anopheles albimanus) is ...
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Genetic engineering may rid world of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes

Y. Steinbuch,  New York Post,  2021.
Scientists have eradicated a population of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes by using genetic engineering to make the females infertile — in what the lead researcher called a possible “game-changer in bringing about malaria elimination.” A team of researchers — led by ...
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Genetic engineering test with mosquitoes ‘may be game changer’ in eliminating malaria

L. Geddes,  The Guardian,  2021.
Scientists have successfully wiped out a population of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes by using a radical form of genetic engineering to render the females infertile – in the most advanced and largest ever test of use of the technology to fight the disease. As well as bringing ...
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Genetically modified mosquitoes to curb malaria

T. Abet,  Daily Monitor,  2021.
Scientists at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) have started breeding mosquitoes with the aim of modifying their genetic materials and releasing them to the environment to curb malaria transmission. The genetically modified mosquitoes, according to the scientists, do not ...
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How An Altered Strand Of DNA Can Cause Malaria-Spreading Mosquitoes To Self-Destruct

R. Stein,  NPR,  2021.
For the first time, scientists have shown that a new kind of genetic engineering can crash populations of malaria-spreading mosquitoes. In the landmark study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, researchers placed the genetically modified mosquitoes in a ...
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Malaria-carrying mosquitoes could be bred out of existence using ‘gene drive’ technology

A. Wilkins,  METRO,  2021.
Malaria-carrying mosquitoes have been eliminated using ‘gene drive’ technology in a nature-like environment, in a world-first study. By altering a gene that blocks female mosquito reproduction, and allowing that gene to spread, researchers found they could ensure complete ...
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Malarial mosquitoes suppressed in experiments that mimic natural environments

H. Dunning,  Phys Org,  2021.
Researchers have shown "gene drive" technology, which spreads a genetic modification blocking female reproduction, works in natural-like settings. The team, led by researchers from Imperial College London, Polo GGB and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine were able to suppress ...
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Mosquito population modification: the drive to malaria eradication

A. A. James,  BugBitten BMC,  2020.
We have had considerable success in the past demonstrating that we can use modern molecular biological and insect transgenesis tools to make genes that prevent mosquitoes from passing on parasites (see 1 and 2). We have focused most recently on laboratory experiments to find ways ...
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New genetic modification could cut malaria spread

Staff Writers,  MALAYSIA NOW,  2021.
Altering a mosquito’s gut genes to make them spread antimalarial genes to the next generation of their species shows promise as an approach to curb malaria, suggests a preliminary study published in eLife on Tuesday. The study is the latest in a series of steps being taken ...
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New genetically modified mosquitoes to help fight malaria

D. Zirimala,  Capital Radio FM,  2021.
According to Dr. Jonathan Kayondo, the principal investigator of the Target Malaria project, the genetically modified mosquitoes do not transmit malaria parasites when they bite. These are made infertile so that when they cross breed with the female anopheles mosquito, they are ...
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Next-generation gene drive for population modification of the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae

R. Carballar-Lejarazú, C. Ogaugwu, T. Tushar, A. Kelsey, T. B. Pham, J. Murphy, H. Schmidt, Y. Lee, G. C. Lanzaro and A. A. James,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  202010214. 2020.
We show here that the Cas9/guide RNA-based gene-drive components of a genetically-engineered malaria mosquito vector, Anopheles gambiae, achieve key target product profile requirements for efficacy and performance.
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Resistance to a CRISPR-based gene drive at an evolutionarily conserved site is revealed by mimicking genotype fixation

S. Fuchs, W. Garrood, A. Beber, A. Hammond, R. Galizi, M. Gribble, G. Morselli, T.-Y. Hui, K. Willis, N. Kranjc, A. Burt, T. Nolan and A. Crisanti,  bioRxiv,  2021.
CRISPR-based homing gene drives can be designed to disrupt essential genes whilst biasing their own inheritance, leading to suppression of mosquito populations in the laboratory. This class of gene drives relies on CRISPR-Cas9 cleavage of a target sequence and copying ...
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Resistance to a CRISPR-based gene drive at an evolutionarily conserved site is revealed by mimicking genotype fixation

S. Fuchs, W. T. Garrood, A. Beber, A. Hammond, R. Galizi, M. Gribble, G. Morselli, T.-Y. J. Hui, K. Willis, N. Kranjc, A. Burt, A. Crisanti and T. Nolan,  PLOS Genetics,  17. 2021.
Author summary Gene drives have the potential to be applied as a novel control strategy of disease-transmitting mosquitoes, by spreading genetic traits that suppress or modify the target population. Many gene drive elements work by recognising and cutting a specific target ...
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Scientists develop new technology that gives greater control for managing malaria mosquitoes

Keele University,  Phy Org,  2021.
Researchers including a Keele University scientist have engineered an innovative approach to disable highly powerful genetic devices that control harmful insect populations. Dr. Roberto Galizi from Keele's School of Life Sciences was part of a research team that previously ...
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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 ...
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Small-Cage Laboratory Trials of Genetically-Engineered Anopheline Mosquitoes

R. Carballar-Lejarazú, T. B. Pham, V. Bottino-Rojas, A. Adolfi and A. A. James,  J Vis Exp,  2021.
Control of mosquito-borne pathogens using genetically-modified vectors has been proposed as a promising tool to complement conventional control strategies. CRISPR-based homing gene drive systems have made transgenic technologies more accessible within the scientific community. ...
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Spatial modelling for population replacement of mosquito vectors at continental scale

N. J. Beeton, A. Wilkins, A. Ickowicz, K. R. Hayes and G. R. Hosack,  bioRxiv,  2021.10.06.463299. 2021.
We explore transmission of the gene drive between the subspecies, different hybridisation mechanisms, the effects of both local dispersal and potential wind-aided migration to the spread, and the development of resistance to the gene drive. We find that given best current ...
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Systematic identification of plausible pathways to potential harm via problem formulation for investigational releases of a population suppression gene drive to control the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae in West Africa

J. B. Connolly, J. D. Mumford, S. Fuchs, G. Turner, C. Beech, A. R. North and A. Burt,  Malaria Journal,  20:170. 2021.
Population suppression gene drive has been proposed as a strategy for malaria vector control. A CRISPR-Cas9-based transgene homing at the doublesex locus (dsxFCRISPRh) has recently been shown to increase rapidly in frequency in, and suppress, caged laboratory populations of the ...
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The Complex Lives of Mosquitoes: The Key for Malaria Control

F. Okumu,  ISGlobal,  2021.
Mosquitoes spread diseases to millions of people around the world, yet they remain poorly understood by most. Studying their biology and behaviours can help us combat, and eventually eliminate, dangerous diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.There are nearly 3,500 species of ...
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The origin of island populations of the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles coluzzii

M. Campos, M. Hanemaaijer, H. Gripkey, T. C. Collier, Y. S. Lee, A. J. Cornel, J. Pinto, D. Ayala, H. Rompao and G. C. Lanzaro,  Communications Biology,  4:9. 2021.
Anopheles coluzzii is a major malaria vector throughout its distribution in west-central Africa. Here we present a whole-genome study of 142 specimens from nine countries in continental Africa and three islands in the Gulf of Guinea. This sample set covers a large part of this ...
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Transcontinental dispersal of Anopheles gambiae occurred from West African origin via serial founder events

H. Schmidt, Y. Lee, T. C. Collier, M. J. Hanemaaijer, O. D. Kirstein, A. Ouledi, M. Muleba, D. E. Norris, M. Slatkin, A. J. Cornel and G. C. Lanzaro,  Communications Biology,  2. 2019.
Here we present population genomic analyses of 111 specimens sampled from west to east Africa, including the first whole genome sequences from oceanic islands, the Comoros.
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What is wrong in extinguishing a species? Charting the Ethical Challenges of using Gene-Drive Technologies to eradicate A. gambiae vector populations

M. Annoni and T. Pievani,  Biolaw Journal-Rivista Di Biodiritto,  2021.
This article analyses three ethical arguments against the use of gene-drive technologies to control for, and possibly extinguish, a particular species of vector mosquitoes (Anopheles gambiae) causing the malaria infection. We conclude that none of these arguments is truly ...
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