Health: Scientists Develop Malaria-Resistant Mosquito

Almost half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria: a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes.  Although the disease can be prevented, diagnosed and treated, 580,000 people still die from malaria every year. Some scientists are trying to genetically modify mosquitoes to make them infertile. Other experts warn that getting rid of mosquitoes altogether may have unforeseen consequences. Scientists from the University of California took another approach: breeding mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasite to replace malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Dr. Anthony James and his team took a type of mosquito found in India and used a gene editing method to insert a new resistance gene into the mosquito’s DNA. The results prove promising: nearly 100% of genetically modified mosquitoes passed on their resistance to their offspring across three generations, and there is hope that the same method could work for other types of mosquitoes. Theoretically, these mosquitoes are unable to transmit the parasite causing malaria to humans when they bite, but we have to wait and see how they work outside the lab. Professor David Conway, UK expert from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, says: “It’s not the finished product yet but it certainly looks promising.”

Contributor: Cristina Herrera

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Comment (1)

  1. d1234     December 17, 2015 at 5:39pm

    It’s great that scientists are working towards a solution of stopping the transmittance of malaria. This will aid in stopping the hysteria every summer that mosquitoes carry diseases.

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