Scientists have created a strain of mosquitoes capable of rapidly introducing malaria-blocking genes into a mosquito population and eliminate its ability to transmit the disease to humans.
University Of California researchers inserted a DNA element into the germ line of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes that resulted in the gene preventing malaria transmission being passed on to an astonishing 99.5 percent of offspring. Anopheles stephensi is a leading malaria vector in Asia.
Researcher Anthony James said that this opens up the real promise that this technique could be adapted for eliminating malaria.
Scientists injected an antimalaria genes in a mosquito embryo, targeting a highly specific spot on the germ line DNA.
Almost 100 percent of offspring, 99.5 percent, exhibited this trait, which James said was an amazing result for such a system that can change inheritable traits.
James said that the mosquitoes they created were not the final brand, but they knew this technology allowed them to efficiently create large populations.
The study is published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.