By Rossy Natale
Researchers at the University of California Irvine and San Diego campus have finished engineering a new strain of malaria resistant mosquitoes.
A new type of genetic engineering, involving cutting out segments of mosquito DNA and replacing them with malaria resistant genes, has been used to generate the mosquitoes.
A technique called ‘gene driving’ has also been used. This involves inserting the resistance gene in not one, but both of the mosquito chromosomes. This ensures that the malaria resistance is passed on to all of their offspring.
Gene driving is incredibly efficient; the researchers believe that malarial resistance has the potential to spread throughout the world in as little time as one summer.
Since the implications of releasing genetically modified animals in the wild are up in the air, the mosquitoes are being kept in a lab while their release is debated.
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