Researchers at the University of Arizona Introduce a Malaria Proof Mosquito

Scientists, at the University of Arizona, worked on a new study, which targets the elimination of Malaria disease caused by anopheles, wild female mosquitoes.

Researchers managed to employ molecular biology to develop a generation of genetically modified mosquitoes that bite but do not pass the malaria disease to human beings. Researchers manipulate the mosquito’s genome, injecting new genetic information, into it and into the eggs as well. The genetic information improves the action of enzyme Akt, compelling the mosquito’s immune system to fight the malaria parasites located inside the insects salivary gland.

On the long term, these GM mosquitoes will breed creating more mosquitoes incapable of transmitting malaria. The process would ultimately end up replacing the wild mosquitoes with the genetically modified lab-bred mosquitoes.

However, researchers made clear that the process of introducing this malaria proof mosquito would need at least 10 years, in order to show concrete signs of success.

Entomologist Michael Riehle, the Lead Researcher working on this study, said, “We were just hoping to see some effect on the mosquitoes' growth rate, lifespan or their susceptibility to the parasite”.

Chris Drakeley, Director of the Malaria Centre at the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, added that, although early, any tools to protect the community from the malaria disease are welcome.