TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Scientists develop malaria-free mosquito

Scientists at the University of California - Irvine recently announced that they have developed a mosquito that is incapable of transmitting malaria.

The genetically-altered insect is a modified version of a mosquito that commonly carries the disease throughout India and the Middle East. The scientist said the new insect could be introduced into wild mosquito populations, according to DailyTelegraph.com.au.

If successful, the advance has the potential to save millions of lives in the malaria-endemic regions of the world. In the wild, the modified mosquito would reproduce with native populations, expanding its malaria-resistant genes.

The scientists said the same methods used to create this mosquito species could be used on other mosquito species that commonly carry the illness.

UCI molecular biology professor Anthony James, along with a team of biologists from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, engineered genes that produce antibodies in the immune system of the Anopheles stephensi mosquito species. The antibodies, in turn, kill the infectious version of the malaria parasite, DailyTelegraph.com.au reports.

James and his colleagues have also been working to create mosquitoes that could limit the spread of dengue fever.

The work, which was originally based on mouse genes that produce antibodies that kill the malaria parasite, will be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.