Scientists in the US have bred the first gm mosquitoes that can resist malaria, saying that the GM mosquito will help provide the key in fighting the disease.
A gene resistant to malaria was inserted into a mosquito’s DNA using a gene editing technique known as Crispr.
Yahoo News reports:
When the genetically modified mosquitoes mated, the resistance was passed down to their offspring, according to the report in the PNAS journal.
It could mean that if these mosquitoes bite people, they may not pass on the parasite that causes malaria to spread.
Almost half of the world’s population – 3.2 billion people – are at risk of malaria. The disease claims the lives of about 580,000 people each year.
Researchers at the University of California used a mosquito called Anopheles stephensi, found in India, for their tests.
By altering the insect’s DNA, they can make it an unsuitable host for the malaria parasite.
Almost all of the mosquito offspring inherited the the resistant DNA.
Professor David Conway, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told the BBC: “It’s not the finished product yet but it certainly looks promising. It does look like the genetic editing works.”