(USA)

Scientists in America have found a way to combat malaria-carrying mosquitoes using gene-editing technology.

The researchers from UC Berkeley and UC Riverside used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tech to alter the genome of the mosquitoes to neutralise their potency, a breakthrough that could lead to wiping out the diseases they transmit – across continents.

“What we showed is that, if you disrupt a gene required for fertility in female mosquitoes at multiple sites all at once, it becomes much harder for the population to evolve around that disruption. As a result, you can suppress a much larger population. It’s much the same as combination drug therapy; but for CRISPR-based gene drive,” said John Marshall, assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

The techniques applied means “we could potentially suppress a continent [of mosquitoes] and the diseases they transmit”, Marshall added.