Keywords: mosquito

Gene drives and population persistence vs elimination: the impact of spatial structure and inbreeding at low density

P. J. Beaghton and A. Burt,  bioRxiv,  2021.11.11.468225. 2021.
Synthetic gene drive constructs are being developed to control disease vectors, invasive species, and other pest species. In a well-mixed random mating population a sufficiently strong gene drive is expected to eliminate a target population, but it is not clear whether the same ...
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High Temperature Cycles Result in Maternal Transmission and Dengue Infection Differences Between Wolbachia Strains in Aedes aegypti

M. V. Mancini, T. H. Ant, C. S. Herd, J. Martinez, S. M. Murdochy, D. D. Gingell, E. Mararo, P. C. D. Johnson and S. P. Sinkins,  mBio,  e0025021. 2021.
Environmental factors play a crucial role in the population dynamics of arthropod endosymbionts, and therefore in the deployment of Wolbachia symbionts for the control of dengue arboviruses. The potential of Wolbachia to invade, persist, and block virus transmission depends in ...
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Will freeing ourselves (forever) from mosquitoes soon be a realizable “dream”? Pros and cons of an epochal turning point – breaking latest news

Annonymous,  Breaking Latest News,  2021.
Also true for a dangerous insect like the mosquito: due to the pathologies of which vector, such as the malaria, the dengue o la yellow fever, every year in the world about 800 thousand people die. There are therefore quite a few reasons to want to get rid of it, not just the ...
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Containment Practices for Arthropods Modified with Engineered Transgenes Capable of Gene Drive Addendum 1 to the Arthropod Containment Guidelines, Version 3.2

American Committee of Medical Entomology,  Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases,  2021.
Responsible conduct of research is a cornerstone of rigorous scientific discovery. Institutional committees, independent advisory panels, and expert steering groups are among the frameworks in academia meant to provide guidance and assurances that research activities do not ...
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Gene drive revolution: How genetically tweaked mosquitoes could tip the balance in the battle to contain malaria

F. Okumu,  Genetic Literacy Project,  2021.
In 2016, a World Health Organisation (WHO) panel concluded that even with the best use of current approaches, there would still be 11 million malaria cases in 2050. What’s needed are longer-term integrated strategies to complement current methods. These may include large-scale ...
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Africa must not rest until Malaria rests: What is the role of emerging technologies?

R. Oronje,  AFIDEP,  2021.
As we mark the World Mosquito Day today, it is a sad reminder that Malaria still kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, majority of these people in Africa. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Malaria killed 409,000 people in 2019, and 94% of these deaths ...
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Breakthrough in non-GMO malaria control

C. Robinson and J. Matthews,  GM Watch,  2021.
A just-published study carried out in a high-security lab claims to show that a CRISPR gene drive (a way of forcing a heritable genetic modification through a whole species or population) can crash populations of malaria-spreading mosquitoes. But why crash mosquito populations ...
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Yes, genetically modified mosquitoes do exist, but they don’t bite and aren’t harmful to humans

E. Jones and M. Chamberlin,  WKYC Studios,  2021.
In 2021, Oxitec, a biotechnology company that develops genetically modified insects that safely and sustainably control pests that spread disease, damage crops and harm livestock across the globe, partnered with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) to evaluate the ...
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Gene Drives – Engineering the Wild

L. Sharratt,  Sentinel,  2021.
So far, genetically engineered organisms have been mostly limited to agricultural use, with partial success. Around the world, a few major crops (mostly corn, soy, and cotton) are genetically engineered, predominantly for herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. However, the ...
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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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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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CRISPR-mediated knock-in of transgenes into the malaria vector Anopheles funestus

C. Quinn, A. Anthousi, C. Wondji and T. Nolan,  G3 Genes Genomes Genetics,  11. 2021.
The ability to introduce mutations, or transgenes, of choice to precise genomic locations has revolutionized our ability to understand how genes and organisms work. In many mosquito species that are vectors of various human diseases, the advent of CRISPR genome editing tools has ...
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Fine-scale estimation of key life-history parameters of malaria vectors: implications for next-generation vector control technologies

A. L. Morris, A. Ghani and N. Ferguson,  Parasites and Vectors,  14:311. 2021.
Mosquito control has the potential to significantly reduce malaria burden on a region, but to influence public health policy must also show cost-effectiveness. Gaps in our knowledge of mosquito population dynamics mean that mathematical modelling of vector control interventions ...
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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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Why the EU should back research into gene drive – even if Europe never uses it

R. Müller,  The Brussels Times,  2021.
As the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy reaches the European Parliament, it has reopened a worrying debate about research into gene drive technology, a tool which could pave the way for biasing the inheritance of desired genetic traits through targeted species. Advances in this kind ...
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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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Modeling and analysis of the implementation of the Wolbachia incompatible and sterile insect technique for mosquito population suppression.

B. Zheng, J. S. Yu and J. Li,  Siam Journal on Applied Mathematics,  81:718-740. 2021.
Mathematical analysis may offer guidance in designing effective mass release strategies for the area-wide application of this Wolbachia incompatible and sterile insect technique in the future. The two most crucial concerns in designing release strategies are how often and in what ...
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CRISPR-mediated knock-in of transgenes into the malaria vector Anopheles funestus

C. Quinn, A. Anthousi, C. Wondji and T. Nolan,  bioRxiv,  2021.03.31.437891. 2021.
We describe herein an optimised transformation system based on the germline delivery of CRISPR components that allows efficient cleavage of a previously validated genomic site and preferential repair of these cut sites via homology-directed repair (HDR), which allows introduction ...
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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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Current Effector and Gene-Drive Developments to Engineer Arbovirus-Resistant Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) for a Sustainable Population Replacement Strategy in the Field

W. R. Reid, K. E. Olson and A. W. E. Franz,  J Med Entomol,  2021.
Conventional mosquito control efforts based on insecticide treatments and/or the use of bednets and window curtains are currently insufficient to reduce arbovirus prevalence in affected regions. Novel, genetic strategies that are being developed involve the genetic manipulation ...
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femaleless Controls Sex Determination and Dosage Compensation Pathways in Females of Anopheles Mosquitoes

E. Krzywinska, L. Ferretti, J. Li, J.-C. Li, C.-H. Chen and J. Krzywinski,  Current Biology,  31:1084-1091.e4. 2021.
Here we show that in the African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, a gene, which likely arose in the Anopheles lineage and which we call femaleless (fle), controls sex determination in females by regulating splicing of dsx and fruitless (fru; another terminal gene within a ...
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Sex Determination and Dosage Compensation: femaleless Is the Link in Anopheles Mosquitoes

M. Scott,  Current Biology,  31:R260-R263. 2021.
A new study finds that the femaleless gene is essential for sexual development and repression of X-chromosome dosage compensation in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. This could provide the basis for a new genetic approach to control this pest.
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Eliminating Mosquitoes with Precision Guided Sterile Males

M. Li, T. Yang, M. Bui, S. Gamez, T. Wise, N. P. Kandul, J. Liu, L. Alcantara, H. Lee, J. R. Edula, R. Raban, Y. Zhan, Y. Wang, N. DeBeaubien, J. Chen, H. M. Sanchez C, J. B. Bennett, I. Antoshechkin, C. Montell, J. M. Marshall and O. S. Akbari,  bioRxiv,  2021.03.05.434167. 2021.
Here we develop a molecular genetic control system termed precision guided sterile insect technique (pgSIT) in Aedes aegypti. PgSIT uses a simple CRISPR-based approach to generate sterile males that are deployable at any life stage. Supported by mathematical models, we ...
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In Uganda, genetically modified mosquitoes bring hope and fear

Anonymous,  africanews,  2021.
Scientists here are investigating whether populations of the malaria-carrying insects can be reduced by genetic modification. They're looking at the viability of releasing large numbers of genetically modified mosquitos into the wild to influence future generations. The study ...
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Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices Survey in Greece before the Implementation of Sterile Insect Technique against Aedes albopictus

A. Stefopoulou, S. L. LaDeau, N. Syrigou, G. Balatsos, V. Karras, I. Lytra, E. Boukouvala, D. P. Papachristos, P. G. Milonas, A. Kapranas, P. Vahamidis and A. Michaelakis,  Insects,  12. 2021.
A KAP tool was used to shed light on the knowledge, practices, and attitudes of local community members in order to better prepare and motivate participation in household mosquito control and to assess current understanding of SIT. Each household also received specific ...
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Mosquitoes genetically modified to be resistant to Zika

Staff,  Lab+Life Scientist,  2021.
Researchers have wrestled with different strategies for controlling the spread of Zika virus, which is transmitted to humans from female mosquito bites. One approach, which has been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, will see more than 750 million genetically ...
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Regulating the expression of gene drives is key to increasing their invasive potential and the mitigation of resistance

A. Hammond, X. Karlsson, I. Morianou, K. Kyrou, A. Beaghton, M. Gribble, N. Kranjc, R. Galizi, A. Burt, A. Crisanti and T. Nolan,  PLOS Genetics,  17:e1009321. 2021.
Here we show that restricting the cutting activity of the gene drive to the germline tissue is crucial to maintaining its potency and we illustrate how failure to restrict this activity can lead to the generation of mutations that can make mosquitoes resistant to the gene drive.
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Sexual Competitiveness and Induced Egg Sterility by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus Gamma-Irradiated Males: A Laboratory and Field Study in Mexico

J. G. Bond, S. Aguirre-Ibáñez, A. R. Osorio, C. F. Marina, Y. Gómez-Simuta, R. Tamayo-Escobar, A. Dor, P. Liedo, D. O. Carvalho and T. Williams,  Insects,  12. 2021.
The sterile insect technique may prove useful for the suppression of mosquito vectors of medical importance in regions where arboviruses pose a serious public health threat. In the present study, we examined the effects of sterilizing irradiation doses across different ratios of ...
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Genetically-modified mosquitoes key to stopping Zika virus spread

University of Missouri,  Medical Xpress,  2021.
Alexander Franz, an associate professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, collaborated with researchers at Colorado State University by using CRISPR gene-editing technology to produce mosquitoes that are unable to replicate Zika virus and therefore cannot infect a human ...
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Exploring Gene Drive Technologies in Agriculture, Biodiversity and Human Disease

The GBIRd Partnership and The GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  Gene Drive Research Forum,  2021.
The GBIRd Partnership and The GeneConvene Global Collaborative recently collaborated through The Gene Drive Research Forum, to create and produce an engaging conversation between Drs. Fred Gould and Charles Godfray about gene drive technologies – the potential benefits and ...
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CRISPR and the splice to survive: New gene-editing technology could be used to save species from extinction—or to eliminate them.

E. Kolbert,  New Yorker,  2021.
About a year ago, not long before the pandemic began, I paid a visit to the center, which is an hour southwest of Melbourne. The draw was an experiment on a species of giant toad known familiarly as the cane toad. The toad was introduced to Australia as an agent of pest control, ...
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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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Self-Deleting Genes Project To Tackle Mosquito-Borne Diseases

D. Ozdemir,  INTERESTING ENGINEERING,  2021.
Did you know that mosquitoes kill at least 725,000 persons every year? They truly are one of the world's deadliest animals which is the reason why scientists from all around are trying to find new ways of dealing with them. Controlling mosquito populations and preventing them ...
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Mosquito Sexual Selection and Reproductive Control Programs

L. J. Cator, C. A. S. Wyer and L. C. Harrington,  Trends in Parasitology,  37:330-339. 2021.
The field of mosquito mating biology has experienced a considerable expansion in the past decade. Recent work has generated many key insights about specific aspects of mating behavior and physiology. Here, we synthesize these findings and classify swarming mosquito systems as ...
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Mosquito Sexual Selection and Reproductive Control Programs

L. J. Cator, C. A. S. Wyer and L. C. Harrington,  Trends in Parasitology,  2021.
Recent work has generated many key insights about specific aspects of mating behavior and physiology. Here, we synthesize these findings and classify swarming mosquito systems as polygynous. Male mating success is highly variable in swarms and evidence suggests that it is likely ...
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His Passion Was Contagious

D. C. McCool,  Notre Dame Magazine,  2021.
Craig was an entomologist and vector biologist whose interest in mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit to people was as contagious as the pathogens themselves. Hesburgh could not have chosen a more driven faculty member. In his 38 years at Notre Dame, before he died in 1995 ...
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Self-deleting genes promise risk-free genetic engineering of mosquitoes

D. Quick,  New Atlas,  2020.
A new project by Texas A&M AgriLife Research is looking to enable "test runs" of genetic changes to mosquitoes that are automatically deleted. Various angles of attack using genetic engineering to combat mosquitoes have been pursued in recent years, including modifying them so ...
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Self-deleting genes to be tested as part of mosquito population control concept

B. Hays,  UPI,  2020.
Scientists at Texas A&M have developed a new technique for altering the genes of mosquitoes -- the new technology will cause genetic changes to self-delete from the mosquitoes' genome. Thanks to the breakthrough, described Monday in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal ...
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$3.9M project on self-deleting genes takes aim at mosquito-borne diseases

O. Kuchment,  AGRILIFE Today,  2020.
To control mosquito populations and prevent them from transmitting diseases such as malaria, many researchers are pursuing strategies in mosquito genetic engineering. A new Texas A&M AgriLife Research project aims to enable temporary “test runs” of proposed genetic changes in ...
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Self-deleting genes tested as part of the concept of mosquito population control

charlottelarson,  NEWYORK NEWS TIMES,  2020.
Most genetic engineering strategies designed to control mosquito populations, and their ability to spread diseases such as malaria, require gene editing to be combined with gene drives. Gene drives allow altered DNA to spread rapidly throughout the population.
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Genetic sexing strains for the population suppression of the mosquito vector Aedes aegypti

P. Koskinioti, A. A. Augustinos, D. O. Carvalho, M. Misbah-ul-Haq, G. Pillwax, L. D. d. l. Fuente, G. Salvador-Herranz, R. A. Herrero and K. Bourtzis,  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,  376:20190808. 2020.
Here, we report on the construction of two genetic sexing strains using red- and white-eye colour mutations as selectable markers. Quality control analysis showed that the Red-eye genetic sexing strains (GSS) is better and more genetically stable than the White-eye GSS. The ...
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A patent review on strategies for biological control of mosquito vector

K. Parihar, M. Telang and A. Ovhal,  World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology,  36:23. 2020.
This paper presents a comprehensive technology overview of patent documents disclosing biological agents for mosquito control. The patent analysis revealed that comparable number of patent documents were filed in two technology categories: non-recombinant agents and genetically ...
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A Gene Drive Could Wipe Out Mosquitoes. But What If We Want To Turn It Off?

A. Winkler,  freethink,  2020.
Gene drives are powerful tools: they allow scientists to hack how animals pass down genes to their offspring. They could allow us to wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes, preserve endangered species, or fight off crop-eating pests. But once it's out in the wild, a gene drive ...
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Targeting female flight for genetic control of mosquitoes

D. Navarro-Payá, I. Flis, M. A. E. Anderson, P. Hawes, M. Li, O. S. Akbari, S. Basu and L. Alphey,  PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases,  14:e0008876. 2020.
The yellow fever mosquito and the Southern house mosquito are important vectors of infectious diseases. Given their widespread presence across tropical and subtropical regions of the world and the increased risk of spread due to global warming there is a growing need for ...
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Evaluating Gene Drive Approaches for Public Benefit

M. R. Santos,  GMOs: Implications for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Processes,  2020.
Gene drive approaches—those which bias inheritance of a genetic element in a population of sexually reproducing organisms—have the potential to provide important public benefits. The spread of selected genetic elements in wild populations of organisms may help address certain ...
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Split drive killer-rescue provides a novel threshold-dependent gene drive

M. P. Edgington, T. Harvey-Samuel and L. Alphey,  Scientific Reports,  10:13. 2020.
We show that although end-joining repair mechanisms may cause the system to break down, under certain conditions, it should persist over time scales relevant for genetic control programs. The potential of such a system to provide localised population suppression via sex ratio ...
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Assessment of a Novel Adult Mass-Rearing Cage for Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and Anopheles arabiensis (Patton).

H. Maïga, W. Mamai, N. S. Bimbilé Somda, T. Wallner, B. S. Poda, G. Salvador-Herranz, R. Argiles-Herrero, H. Yamada and J. Bouyer,  Insects,  11:801. 2020.
Successful implementation of the sterile insect technique (SIT) against Aedes albopictus and Anopheles arabiensis relies on a continuous supply of sterile males. To meet this requirement, optimization of the mass-rearing techniques is needed. This study, therefore, aims to assess ...
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Brave New Planet: Reshaping Nature Through Gene Drives

E. Lander,  Brave New Planet,  2020.
A new technology, called gene drives, has the power to spread any genetic instructions you wish across an entire animal or plant species in the wild. It might let us restore ecosystems ravaged by invasive species, or help species adapt to climate change. And, it might save ...
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Gene Drives: A Controversial Tool to Fight Malaria

H. Albert,  LABIOTECH.eu,  2020.
The possibility of creating gene drives was introduced into the scientific community in 2003 by Austin Burt, a professor at Imperial College London. Burt was studying ‘selfish genes’ that can copy themselves into a specific target DNA sequence. He suggested that these genes, ...
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Cellular mechanisms regulating synthetic sex ratio distortion in the Anopheles gambiae germline

R. E. Haghighat-Khah, A. Sharma, M. R. Wunderlich, G. Morselli, L. A. Marston, C. Bamikole, A. Hall, N. Kranjc, C. Taxiarchi, I. Sharakhov and R. Galizi,  Pathogens and Global Health,  114:370-378. 2020.
Meiotic cleavage of rDNA repeats, located in the sex chromosomes of A. gambiae SD males, affects the competitiveness of mature sperm to fertilize the female oocyte.
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Vector-Focused Approaches to Curb Malaria Transmission in the Brazilian Amazon: An Overview of Current and Future Challenges and Strategies

E. M. Rocha, R. D. Katak, J. C. de Oliveira, M. D. Araujo, B. C. Carlos, R. Galizi, F. Tripet, O. Marinotti and J. A. Souza,  Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease,  5. 2020.
Here we present an overview on both conventional and novel promising vector-focused tools to curb malaria transmission in the Brazilian Amazon. If well designed and employed, vector-based approaches may improve the implementation of malaria-control programs, particularly in ...
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Fruit fly breakthrough puts killer mozzies on notice

V. Tressider,  The Lighthouse,  2020.
A new designer fruit fly paves the way for scientists to replace disease-carrying mosquitoes with harmless, genetically modified versions, says Macquarie University researcher Dr Maciej Maselko.
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WHO Releases a Position Statement on Genetically Modified Mosquitoes for the Control of Vector-Borne Diseases

E. R. Fletcher,  Health Policy Watch,  2020.
WHO announced their support for the continued investigation into genetically modified mosquitoes as an alternative to existing interventions to reduce or prevent vector-borne diseases.
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FKMCD-OXITEC Mosquito Project

FKMCD and OXITEC,  Website,  2020.
The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) Board of Commissioners approved the FKMCD-Oxitec Investigational Agreement for the release of Oxitec’s Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This project will be overseen by FKMCD, the EPA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and ...
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Evaluation of genetically modified mosquitoes for the control of vector-borne diseases

Global Malaria Programme,  WHO - Position Statement,  2020.
In the spirit of fostering innovation, WHO takes the position that all potentially beneficial new technologies, including GMMs, should be investigated to determine whether they could be useful in the continued fight against diseases of public health concern. Such research should ...
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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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Yes, Irradiated Sterile Male Mosquitoes Can Be Sexually Competitive!

J. Bouyer and M. J. B. Vreysen,  Trends in Parasitology,  2020.