Transgenic anopheline mosquitoes impaired in transmission of a malaria parasite

Nature
Junitsu ItoM Jacobs-Lorena

Abstract

Malaria is estimated to cause 0.7 to 2.7 million deaths per year, but the actual figures could be substantially higher owing to under-reporting and difficulties in diagnosis. If no new control measures are developed, the malaria death toll is projected to double in the next 20 years. Efforts to control the disease are hampered by drug resistance in the Plasmodium parasites, insecticide resistance in mosquitoes, and the lack of an effective vaccine. Because mosquitoes are obligatory vectors for malaria transmission, the spread of malaria could be curtailed by rendering them incapable of transmitting parasites. Many of the tools required for the genetic manipulation of mosquito competence for malaria transmission have been developed. Foreign genes can now be introduced into the germ line of both culicine and anopheline mosquitoes, and these transgenes can be expressed in a tissue-specific manner. Here we report on the use of such tools to generate transgenic mosquitoes that express antiparasitic genes in their midgut epithelium, thus rendering them inefficient vectors for the disease. These findings have significant implications for the development of new strategies for malaria control.

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Related Concepts

Plasmodium berghei
Plasmodium
Host-Parasite Interactions
Germ-Line Mutation
Antiparasitic [EPC]
Tissue Specificity
Genetic Manipulation
Epithelium
Insecticide Resistance Function
Recombinant Transgenes

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