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Genetically Modified Mosquito Could Help Eliminate Malaria

From: Development News, World Bank

According to Reuter's reports, European scientists have created the world's first genetically modified malaria mosquito that could one day help to rid the world of the disease that kills an estimated 2.7 million people each year. This was accomplished by inserting a marker gene into one of the malaria vector species. Researchers at Imperial College London and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany have come a step closer to creating a mosquito to stop the spread of the disease. "With what we have available it is theoretically possible to construct in the laboratory a mosquito which is resistant to malaria," Andrea Crisanti of Imperial College, said.

The research, reported in the science journal Nature, has been hailed as a breakthrough in the battle against malaria, which infects around 500 to 800 million people a year. "The announcement of stable germ line transformation of Anopheles mosquitoes represents a major breakthrough in the field of molecular entomology," said Carlos Morel, a tropical disease specialist with the WHO and World Bank. "The transformed green mosquitoes now signal a green light for more serious investment in the development of new approaches for malaria control," he added.