‘Malaria-proof’ Mosquitoes Bred in Laboratory | HealthMapPosted: July 2, 2012
By altering the DNA of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, scientists at the University of California produced an immune response in the insect that combated the malaria parasite in adulthood and rendered the mosquito unable to transmit the pathogen to humans via their bite.
Researchers injected mosquito eggs with a modified gene that caused the insect’s immune system to produce antibodies capable of killing or stalling the development of Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest form of malaria.
The injected gene does not affect the mosquito’s ability to live or reproduce. And according to researchers, it’s dominant, meaning that the GM mosquito would not only be able to survive in the wild but also thrive.
“This is the first model of a malaria vector with a genetic modification that can potentially exist in wild populations and be transferred through generations without affecting their fitness,” Anthony James, lead author on the study, told Wired magazine.
The new report was published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences June 11. The research was carried out by researchers at the University of California-Irvine (UCI) and the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France.