GM mosquitoes: Weapon against malaria

In a novel approach to find a cure for malaria, scientists have genetically engineered mosquitoes to produce only a sperm, thereby reducing the disease prevalence drastically.

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GM mosquitoes can cure to malaria

The sex selection technique produces a generation of mosquitoes which are 95 percent male, as opposed to 50 percent in normal populations as reported.

Production of only a sperm reduces the number of females, leading to a dramatic reduction in the population and eventual decimation. This curbes the risk to humans as the malarial parasite is transmitted through the blood-sucking female mosquitoes.

"Malaria is debilitating, often fatal and we need to find new ways of tackling it," said study leader Ms Andrea Crisanti, a professor at Imperial College London.

"We think our innovative approach is a huge step forward. For the very first time, we have been able to inhibit the production of female offspring in the laboratory, and this provides a new means to eliminate the disease."

Malaria kills more than 600,000 people each year, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics.

The result of six years' work, the method focuses on Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the most dangerous transmitters of the malaria parasite.

 

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