Friday, December 11, 2015

Engineering Mosquitoes’ Genes to Resist Malaria

Two teams of biologists in Irvine campus of the University of California work in a basement behind five protective doors. They engineered a new breed of mosquitos that is suppose to eliminate malaria. The scientists incorporated two genetic modifications, one to release antibodies to the presence of malaria parasites. The second called a gene drive, should propel the malaria-resistance genes throughout a natural mosquito population. Taking into account Mendel’s law of genetics, the inserted genes should rapidly take over a wild population in as few as ten generations or a single season.
No mosquitos have been let out into the wild mosquito population yet. Biologist are keen to avoid surprises that might arouse public hostility. They believe the public is not ready to such a novel technology. Other concern arises like if the genes will start to develop mutations that might impair their inheritance or natural selection.
In my point of view its fascinating how we have the ability to corrected or edit certain genes. Especially when it comes to malaria, a life threatening illness. From another prospective I totally disagree with engineering mosquitos. I disagree for the only reason that the outcome of releasing the modified mosquitos are not something measurable or controlled. This might have a great impact, perhaps devastating event to happen to our ecosystem.


  1. This is an interesting post. Since malaria is responsible for killing 1 out of every 2 people that have ever lived, this discovery is one that I hope reduces or eliminates the virus completely. Nice article choice!

  2. Hopefully this research can be used to eradicate this horrible disease from the planet. Great post !

  3. I'm always an advocate for malaria prevention that does not equal extermination of a keystone species. As much as people hate mosquitoes, a lot of other animals need to eat them to survive. And eliminating any portion of a food web causes havoc, especially at the lower levels.

    There is always the problem of malaria itself evolving resistance to infect the bugs again, or even finding a new host, but risks outweigh the benefits in my opinion. If the gene itself only affects antibodies, it wouldn't be much different from natural mutations that arise to do the same effect.