Gene drives are being investigated as tools to eradicate infectious diseases or control pests that cause agricultural, economic, and environmental damages; yet they have also raised concerns.
From ancient soothsayers to Wall Street stock pickers, humans have always yearned to be able to tell the future. The ability, needless to say, has mostly been overstated.
The death toll from diseases carried by mosquitoes is so huge that scientists are working on a radical idea. Why not eradicate them?
Although the number of cases of and deaths related to malaria has been declining steadily for 15 years, the disease continues to cause more than 400,000 deaths annually, primarily in Africa (90% of deaths) and among children (70% of deaths)
Early in my career, I was galvanized by a disease that ravaged my country and many others around the world: malaria.
Malaria kills half a million people each year, mostly children in tropical Africa. The price tag for eradicating the disease is estimated at more than $100 billion over 15 years.
Researchers the world over are fast adopting CRISPR-Cas9 to tinker with the genomes of humans, viruses, bacteria, animals and plants. Nature brings together research, reporting and expert opinion to keep you abreast of the frontiers of gene editing.
Report concludes new technologies could save lives from diseases such as malaria, but says development is slowed by inadequate regulatory system
A groundbreaking but controversial new gene-editing technology is accelerating a push to eradicate malaria, with scientists recently identifying two ways to block mosquitoes from transmitting the killer disease.
To exterminate a living species by accident is normally frowned on. To do so deliberately might thus seem an extraordinary sin. But if that species is Plasmodium falciparum, the sin may be excused. This parasitic organism causes the most deadly form of malaria. Together with four cousins, it is responsible for about 450,000 deaths a year, and the ruination of the lives of millions more people who survive the initial crisis of disease. Besides the direct suffering this causes, the lost human potential is enormous. The Gates Foundation, an American charity, reckons that eradicating malaria would bring the world $2 trillion of benefits by 2040.
Multiple strategies are needed to ensure safe gene drive experiments.
Scientists have created mosquitoes that produce 95% male offspring, with the aim of helping control malaria. Flooding cages of normal mosquitoes with the new strain caused a shortage of females and a population crash.
Scientists have hailed the genetic modification of mosquitoes that could crash the insect’s populations as a “quantum leap” that will make a substantial and important contribution to eradicating malaria.
Scientists believe a new strain of mosquito that produces almost entirely male offspring could turn the tables in the fight against malaria.
UK scientists think genetic modification will help check female population of mosquito species that spreads the disease.
A long-time collaborator of IVCC and LSTM has been awarded this year’s Royal Society Pfizer Award for his malaria research. Dr Abdoulaye Diabate, who is investigating the mating systems of Anopheles gambiae, will receive £60,000 towards a study which aims to cut the mosquito’s high reproductive rate and thereby control the spread of malaria.
In today’s study, published in Nature, researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Washington, Seattle have demonstrated how some genetic changes can be introduced into large laboratory mosquito populations over the span of a few generations by just a small number of modified mosquitoes.
Genetically modified mosquitoes could soon be released into the wild in an attempt to combat malaria. Scientists at Imperial College London, who created the GM insects, say they could wipe out natural mosquito populations and save thousands of lives in malaria-stricken regions.