CrackitToday App

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes:

Djibouti, a nation in East Africa, is taking a bold step in the fight against malaria by deploying genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes.

  • This pilot program, launched in May 2024, marks a significant moment in the battle against this deadly disease.
  • GM mosquitoes are bred in a lab with two genes: a self-limiting gene to prevent female offspring from surviving to adulthood, and a fluorescent marker gene for identification in the wild.
  • GM mosquitoes are engineered to reduce the population of female Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, which are responsible for transmitting malaria.
  • By targeting the vector population, the aim is to interrupt the transmission cycle of malaria.
  • Djibouti has witnessed a dramatic rise in malaria cases in recent years.
  • An invasive mosquito species (migrated to Africa from South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula), Anopheles stephensi, particularly adept at thriving in urban environments like Djibouti City.
  • Existing control methods like insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor spraying are becoming less effective due to mosquito resistance.
  • The released mosquitoes are all male and carry a self-limiting gene. When they mate with female A. stephensi mosquitoes, their offspring (which would be female) inherit the gene and are unable to survive to adulthood.
  • Over time, this process aims to significantly reduce the overall population of female mosquitoes, thereby interrupting malaria transmission.