EPISODE #9 | 7 JANUARY 2022
MOSQUITO TRANSGENESIS FOR MALARIA CONTROL
Mosquitoes transport deadly malaria parasites from one human to another so stopping the transportation service in its tracks is one way to stop the disease.
Genetic tools to control the malaria mosquito are becoming increasingly attractive, particularly transgenesis: the process of introducing genes into the mosquito to stop it from transmitting malaria. Mosquito transgenesis can either suppress a mosquito population entirely or replace it with a strain that can’t transmit malaria to humans. And it’s this ‘population replacement strategy’ is the primary focus of a new article in the Trends in Parasitology journal. It details how population replacement can be achieved by improving the mosquito’s ability to attack the parasite, or by inactivating the genes the parasite uses to infect the mosquito. It also outlines the methods of introducing these genes to the mosquito - on a molecular and population level. Yet, the article also highlights the technical and public challenges with transgenesis, particularly regulation and community engagement in releasing mosquitoes.
Trends in Parasitology