How could gene drive-modified mosquitoes prevent disease transmission?
Mosquitoes transmit many deadly and debilitating human and animal diseases. Those performing the research on gene drive technologies in mosquitoes envision several possible uses, such as: 1) to prevent transmission of malaria parasites in high incidence areas; 2) to prevent transmission of disease-causing arboviruses such as dengue or Zika in regions where they are prominent; or 3) to control transmission of avian malaria that is threatening fragile native bird populations in island habitats.
Gene drive technologies if successfully deployed in mosquitoes might be used to reduce the risk of these diseases by depleting populations of disease-carrying mosquitoes (population suppression) or reducing the ability of the mosquitoes to harbor the pathogen (population replacement or modification).
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