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     On time: technology for editing genes destroyed malarial mosquitoes
    Добавлено: Вторник 25 Сентябрь 2018
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    A genetic tool to kill dangerous insects, can annually save thousands of lives.

    Researchers from Imperial College London used the technology for editing genes for the complete destruction of malarial mosquitoes in the lab. In this they were helped by a special method called "gene drive" (gene drive), allowing you to quickly distribute the modified human gene in wild populations of animals or plants.

    In 2016 worldwide, there were about 216 million cases of malaria. According to some estimates, in the same year, there were 445 thousand deaths, mainly children under five years.

    Experts around the world offer different ways of combating malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. This time, scientists at Imperial College London decided to use a technology called "gene drive" based on the famous technique to edit the genes CRISPR.

    Experts have tested the technology on the mosquitoes Anopheles gambiae, which are known to carry the malaria parasite in sub-Saharan Africa South of the Sahara. They have changed part of a mosquito gene, called dsx. This gene is responsible for the sexual behavior of males and females and determines the differences in their anatomy. Simply put, it determines the sex of the individual.

    Males who carried the modified gene showed no changes. Experts have not seen them, and females insects that carried only one copy of the modified gene.

    Meanwhile, the female mosquitoes with two copies of the changed gene become male and female characteristics. Moreover, such individuals will not bite and lay eggs. Actually, the edit genes allowed us to block the reproduction of female mosquitoes.

    With the spread of modified genes responsible for infertility in females, populations in laboratory cages were destroyed for lack of offspring.

    As noted in the press release of the study, the experts were able to destroy populations of mosquitoes A. gambiae in the laboratory only for 7-11 generations. For the first time scientists were able to completely block the reproductive capacity of a complex organism in the laboratory using a molecular approach.

    It is noteworthy that previous attempts to develop a "gene drive" to "pacify" the population faced with the so-called resistance (resistance). The genes that were targeted by the researchers, have developed mutations that allow them somehow to perform their functions, however, they were resistant to technology. Such changes later transferred to the offspring, resulting in the action of "gene drive" was stopped.

    Despite the fact that scientists first managed to cope with this problem, they plan to conduct additional experiments. They want to study the efficiency and, not least, the stability of "gene drive" in a laboratory environment that simulates a tropical environment.

    In addition, they want to test the method on larger mosquito populations that live in more realistic conditions, where competition for food and other environmental factors can affect the results of the study.

    As scientists say, this is the first case when the gene drive led to the destruction of the mosquito population that is a promising result to combat the threat of malaria. According to them, countless millions of lives could be saved, and the lives of hundreds of millions of people changed for the better thanks to this technology.

    "This breakthrough shows that a genetic drive can work, giving hope in the fight against the disease that has plagued mankind for centuries," — said in a press release, one of the authors of Andrea Crisanti (Andrea Crisanti), a molecular parasitologist from Imperial College London.

    Says Crisanti, nobody says that they found a 100% resistance.

    "But it [the study results] look very promising," he says.

    However, he adds that it will take at least 5-10 years before scientists will consider the real test of any genetic drivers on the mosquitoes in the wild.

    The results of the study presented in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology.

    We will add that earlier the authors of the project "Conduct.Science" ( told me about a Billboard that kill hundreds of mosquitoes every day, and effective way to protect against nocturnal mosquito bites.

    If to speak about the treatment of malaria, scientists propose to draw attention to the smell of chickens, dried tarragon and crustacean shells.

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