Gene-Drive Technology

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Gene-drive technology has been used in outdoor but controlled conditions in India, Brazil, and Panama to genetically manipulate mosquitoes.

About Gene-Drive Technology

  • A gene drive is a type of genetic engineering technique that modifies genes.
  • This technology was conceived by Austin Burt, professor at Imperial College London.
  • This technique could be an effective way to eradicate nuisance species, such as malaria-causing mosquitoes.
  • Under this technique mosquitoes will selectively inherit some genes, rather than the inheritance to follow the rules of Mendelian genetics.
  • In this a protein cuts the mosquito’s DNA at a part that doesn’t encode a particular sequence in the genome.
  • This triggers a natural mechanism in the cell containing the DNA to repair it and forces the cell to incorporate a sequence, called the drive sequence, into the damaged portion.


Recent development

  • Researchers at Imperial College London genetically enhanced a gene expressed in the midgut of mosquitoes to secrete two antimicrobial substances called magainin 2 and melittin.
  • They are detrimental to the Plasmodium parasite’s development in the midgut and also reduce the lifespan of female mosquitoes.
  • Computational modelling studies have suggested that this approach could significantly disrupt malaria transmission.


Q1) What is Malaria?

Malaria is a serious and potentially life-threatening infectious disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus. It is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria is a significant global health issue, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Source: Buzzing breakthrough: Genetic engineering gives mosquito control an upgrade