CRISPR Tools to Cut Down Disease Spread by Culex Mosquitoes

“My co-authors and I believe that our work will be impactful for scientists working on the biology of the Culex disease vector since new genetic tools are deeply needed in this field,” said Gantz, an assistant research scientist in the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego.

The cruel ‘Culex’

The culex mosquitoes pose a serious threat to African and Asian countries as they act as a vehicle that transmits roundworms that cause a serious disease called filariasis. The mosquitoes from this species are also known to spread the West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), and the Plasmodia that cause avian malaria in birds.


CRISPR tools in action

Since the development of CRISPR tools, there have been many interesting insights into gene drives that focused on inhibiting pathogen-spreading mosquitoes such as Anopheles and Aedes species, which spread malaria, dengue, and other life-threatening diseases.

The research team of the present study developed a CRISPR-Cas9/guide-RNA expression “toolkit” from scratch exclusively for the mosquitoes from the Culex genus. The gene drive technology used here disables the capacity of mosquitoes to spread pathogens. This same theory can be applied to control other disease-spreading insects too.

“These modified gRNAs can increase gene drive performance in the fruit fly and could potentially offer better alternatives for future gene drive and gene-editing products in other species,” concluded Gantz.

Source: Medindia

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