Feeds

US team creates malaria-resistant mosquito

With fluorescent eyes, naturally

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

US scientists have created a malaria-resistant, genetically-modified (GM) mosquito which they hope might displace its infectious counterpart if introduced into the wild.

According to the BBC, the transgenic Anopheles mozzie - which boasts a gene that resists infection by the Plasmodium malaria parasite - is "better able to survive than disease-carrying insects". The scientists let loose equal numbers of GM and common-or-garden mosquitos on malaria-infected mice, and after nine generations of reproduction "70 per cent of the insects belonged to the malaria-resistant strain".

Simply put, the GM insects "had a higher survival rate and laid more eggs". Dr Mauro Marrelli and his colleagues from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, explained in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "To our knowledge, no one has previously reported a demonstration that transgenic mosquitoes can exhibit a fitness advantage over non-transgenics."

They added: "The results have important implications for implementation of malaria control by means of genetic modification of mosquitoes."

It's not quite that simple, though. Survival rates for GM and non-GM mosquitos were the same when exposed to a non-infected food source. As the BBC explains, "for resistant mosquitoes to be useful in the wild, they must survive better than non-resistant mosquitoes even when not exposed to malaria".

The John Hopkins team's mosquitos boast one additional crowd-pleasing characteristic - fluorescent eyes, courtesy of the now pretty well obligatory green fluorescent protein gene. This feature is not, however, simply to create the entomological equivalent of the glow-in-the-dark pig, but rather to allow the scientists to better identify their offspring. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.