26 Nov '15, 11am
Manipulating mosquito DNA could lead to a world without malaria
Research conducted by a team at the University of California showed it was possible to create mosquitoes that actually block the malaria disease rather than spread it. In mosquitoes, the malaria disease is actually carried by a parasite, which the insect passes on to its human victims. Scientists were able to insert genes which block the parasite, and they project that virtually all the insects’ descendants within a few generations would inherit the anti-malaria DNA. Ordinarily, a genetic change like that would take much more time to infiltrate the population (if it were successful at all, because even some new DNA characteristics can “go extinct” sometimes, as the above video describes). Ideally, since mosquitoes have an extremely short lifespan (about 10 days), it would only take a few months for the entire population to block the disease.