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Can genetically modified mosquitoes wipe out malaria?

March 23, 2007
…so… I’m guessing these scientists never saw the movie Mimic…
clipped from science.howstuffworks.com


The idea of using genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to help wipe out malaria has been around for a while. Theoretically, if you could create a “better,” stronger mosquito that happens to be unable to spread malaria parasites, and you were to release tens of thousands of those better mosquitoes into the wild, they would eventually win the survival game and replace the mosquitoes that are able to spread malaria. In this theoretical solution, once malaria were eradicated from a particular area, it wouldn’t come back because the mosquitoes couldn’t carry it back. But there has always been a glitch.


Still, that mosquitoes modified to be malaria-resistant could outsurvive normal mosquitoes under any circumstances is a tremendous finding, and it may be the proof-of-concept needed to keep this line of research moving forward. At the very least, it’s a possible step toward a financially manageable, large-scale approach to eradicating malaria.

A feeding, female Anopheles mosquito
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