Scientists prepare to use gene drives to end malaria

prototype-mosquito-swarm-1000In Africa, scientists are preparing to unleash a lethal experiment: mosquito swarms that have been genetically engineered to drive themselves and their malaria-creating cousins to extinction.

While the work has been ongoing over the past year (and reported in last year’s Prototype), the mosquitos are now being rapidly bred and tested in labs.

Questions remain about the ecological consequences. Can the gene drive jump species? What impacts might eradicating local mosquitos have?

However, with backers like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the alarming statistics of malaria mortality, this is an experiment that is highly likely to be unleashed.

Read more: MIT Tech Review / NPR

Image: Mosquito swarm. By Pixabay / public domain

This story is taken from the 17 March 2017 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.