Yahoo: Mosquitoes are bad news when it comes to the spread of malaria, a deadly disease which kills hundreds of thousands of people each year. We previously covered a range of approaches to cracking down on this problem — ranging from apps which track disease-carrying mosquitoes by listening to their buzz to a plan to release genetically engineered killer mosquitoes to hunt down their disease-carrying wild counterparts.
Now researchers from Johns Hopkins Universtiy have another approach, and it involves CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. Specifically, they engineered mosquitoes which are resistant to the malaria parasite, by deleting a gene called FREP1 which helps malaria survive in the mosquito’s gut.
“A major problem with malaria control is that it is a disease of the poor developing world and requires active compliance and participation by the endemic population,” George Dimopoulos, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Digital Trends.
The issue with this is that active compliance and participation means people taking antimalarial drugs, removing larval breeding sites and using bed nets, all things which are not always possible in areas where resources are scarce. Johns Hopkins’ genetically modified (GM) mosquito, on the other hand, represents a suitable solution because it does not require any such active participation. more