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6 years ago

Scientists create malaria-resistant mutant mosquitoes

TomoNews US
TomoNews US
CALIFORNIA — University of California scientists have recently developed a way to create malaria resistant mosquitoes by genetic modification, which is a significant step toward eliminating malaria in humans.

Affecting half of the world's population, malaria is caused by mosquitoes carrying the Plasmodium parasite. Sub-saharan Africa carries the highest burden of the deadly disease, accounting for 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria-related deaths.

Scientists used a genome editing tool called "CRISPR" to alter the Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, a common carrier of malaria. The mosquitoes' DNA is modified by inserting a "resistance" gene, rendering them unable to carry or pass on the disease. When these genetically modified mosquitoes mate, they pass on the same malaria-resistant gene to their offspring. The new gene was inherited by almost 100% of the offspring across three generations in experiements.

Scientists believe that they will be eventually able to naturally spread the edited DNA to almost all mosquitoes in a population within several generations, effectively combating malaria around the world.

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