Thursday, December 3, 2015

Malaria-blocking Mosquoitoes

Using gene editing techniques, scientists at the University of California can create genetically modified mosquitoes to block malaria.  By introducing these mosquitoes into a population of normal mosquitoes, they could breed and possibly eliminate malaria all together.  To do this they inserted a DNA element in the germ line of the mosquitoes in order to prevent the transmission of malaria to any of their offspring.  Astonishingly, it has a 99.5% inheritance rate, allowing for this trait to be passed very efficiently.  To ensure the trait was being passes, the researchers added a cassette protein that would change eye color to florescent red.  It was as simple as counting the mosquitoes with the red eyes after that.
Researcher Anthony James says there is still further testing that needs to be done to ensure the efficacy of the antibodies acting in this technique but that this is a great first step.  Malaria is one of the world's leading health problems and it would be great to eliminate it entirely, if possible.  About, 500 million cases of malaria occur each year and about 1 million die from malaria each year.

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  1. When my family came back from a vacation to India, my sister got the malaria. It was horrible and she had to stay in the hospital for a long time. I hope the cure for this is discovered soon. The amount of people that get sick from this mosquitoes is seriously a big problem.

  2. This is really interesting and I feel like the researchers thought outside the box in this attempt to get rid of malaria. If this works it would be truly amazing. It seems like a simple procedure and the fact that such a simple idea could potentially get rid of one of the major diseases of the world is amazing!

  3. Creating genetically modified mosquitoes that block out malaria is a huge success knowing that many people suffer from this disease. This can help us in the future by hopefully wiping out malaria altogether. This is a huge step in the right direction in preventing and maybe wiping out certain diseases that are brought about by other animals and insects.