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Genetic engineering to control Mosquitoes

 

Source: TH

 

Context: Genetic engineering is being used to upgrade mosquito control efforts due to the ongoing threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

  • Recent advancements in genome sequencing technology have provided researchers with access to mosquito genomes, particularly Anopheles stephensi, a major malaria vector mosquito.
  • Genetic manipulation, including gene-drive technology, is employed to control mosquito populations by interfering with their reproduction.

 

Gene-drive technology, originally conceived by Austin Burt in 2003, alters mosquito DNA to reduce their reproductive capabilities or make them sterile, preventing the transmission of diseases like malaria. Some approaches involve enhancing genes in mosquitoes to produce antimicrobial substances, disrupting disease transmission.

  

Genetically modified mosquitoes, such as OX5034, have been released in certain areas to reduce mosquito populations, showing promising results in decreasing disease incidence. However, these technologies come with potential risks, such as ecological disruptions and unintended consequences in the ecosystem.