Anti-malaria genes give mosquitoes an edge

Transgenic mosquitoes resistant to malaria infection outcompete normal mosquitoes when feeding on infected blood

Melissa Lee Phillips
Mar 19, 2007
Researchers are one step closer to creating a viable malaria-resistant mosquito, according to a study in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors found that, when feeding on malaria-infected blood, transgenic mosquitoes resistant to malaria infection experienced both higher fecundity and lower mortality than normal mosquitoes.If such a mosquito could be introduced into the wild, "you may end up with populations that are refractory to the transmission of the parasite," predicted Peter Atkinson of the University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the study. Previous work has shown that mosquitoes infected with the malaria parasite are less fit than uninfected mosquitoes. This observation led to the hypothesis that transgenic malaria-resistant mosquitoes may outcompete wild-type mosquitoes, said study senior author Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. However, other studies have shown that transgenic mosquitoes may suffer a loss in...

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