GM mosquitoes could help control malaria
Much progress has been made in recent years. It is now possible to engineer the genome of Anopheles gambiae, the principal malaria-carrying mosquito. Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena leads the laboratory that produces this mosquito, which works by producing an antimalarial substance when it feeds on blood.
Genetically modifying bacteria that live in mosquitoes is another strategy. Jacobs-Lorena's team has shown that when the bug Escherichia coli is modified so that it produces the same malaria-inhibiting molecule that first made mosquitoes resistant, the mosquito itself displays a lower level of malaria infection. How to introduce a GM bacteria into mosquitoes in the field? This is a challenge to handle on. Jacobs-Lorena's team is collaborating with an Italian laboratory to work with types of bacteria called Asaia that occur naturally in mosquitoes. Asaia is passed from female mosquitoes to their offspring.
Instead of creating resistance, researchers at biotech company Oxitec — a spin-off from Oxford University, United Kingdom — are using GM to reduce A. aegypti mosquito populations. The method targets dengue fever, a disease which infects up to 100 million people each year and for which there is no treatment or vaccine. The method consists of sterilising mosquitoes and releasing male GM mosquitoes that can't produce viable offspring. The Gates Foundation funds contained trials in Mexico.
and the article by Paul Eggleston and Mamadou Coulibaly at: