A team of biologist manage to create a new breed of mosquitos. The engineered mosquitos are immune to malaria. Hence they are genetically incapable of hosting and transmitting the plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite that is capable of causing malaria in humans.
According to international statistics, more than 500000 people die each year due to malaria, and the most vulnerable to the disease are the children residing in the underdeveloped parts of Africa. But the researchers might have come up with a solution that can significantly alter the balance of power and prove to be quite a game changer.
As part of his study on the ways to eradicate mosquito borne disease, such as malaria, the esteemed Professor Anthony James, declared that scientific community is on the verge of a major breakthrough. Genetically engineered mosquitos are incapable of transmitting diseases like malaria because of their progeny. The project is quite ambitious, both in goals and dimensions. The team of researchers that took part in this study said that one the genetically bred mosquito is released into the wild, it will be able to transmit its genetical material even further, giving birth to a new generation of mosquitos that are incapable of hosting the parasite responsible for malaria.
In order to achieve these outstanding results, the team used a highly advanced genetical tinkering method, nicknamed CRISPR. Basically, CRISPR is a genetic editing tool. The acronym stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It refers to a couple of prokaryotic DNA segment that contains brief repetition of its base pairs. Following each reiteration is a genetical gap called a spacer DNA. These gaps are mostly due to exposure certain bacteria or plasmids.
Using the CRISPR method, the scientist are capable of adding, cutting or even deleting a specific base pair. Results on pig genome pointed out that up to 5 genes can be “resected” from the genome.
Basically, by using this novel technique, scientists are able to create a dotted-line sort of pattern, which can be edited to accommodate any number of genetical modifications.
The result seem quite promising indeed, but the team also pointed out that more research in necessary in order to see if they can actually manage to distribute the “good DNA” to all mosquito population, including the female population. New hope for the fight against malaria arises as scientists announce that engineered mosquitos are immune to malaria, prompting a new field of epidemiology.