Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Mozzies Knocked out with Gene Drive

By AusSMC

Researchers say they've successfully used a CRISPR-based gene drive to cause the collapse of a population of caged malaria-carrying mosquitoes by targeting a gene that determines whether an individual mosquito develops as a male or a female.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Research article: A CRISPR–Cas9 gene drive targeting doublesex causes complete population suppression in caged Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. Nature Biotechnology https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt.4245


Dr Gordana Rasic is a senior research officer in the Mosquito Control Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

"In this study, scientists created a new gene drive that disrupts development of female malarial mosquitoes (Anopheles gambiae) and causes their caged populations to crash.

Andrea Crisanti’s group at Imperial College, UK has used CRISPR technology to create a mutation in a gene (doublesex) that prevents normal development of biting females but does not affect harmless male mosquitoes.

By linking the mutation to a CRISPR-based machinery that ensures it is transmitted nearly 100 per cent of the time, the mutation quickly spreads through a population, turning more and more females into intersex mosquitoes that can’t bite and reproduce.

The heavy hit on egg production was enough to cause total collapse of experimental caged populations in less than a year.

This is not the first gene drive for suppression of malarial mosquitoes that Crisanti’s group has created, but the doublesex construct seems much more resilient to mosquitoes...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.