New York, Sep 23 (IANS) A gene that can potentially reduce female mosquitoes has been identified by a team of US researchers. That’s good news for malaria, dengue, Zika control. The bad news is this happens over generations of moquitoes.
Female mosquitoes draw human blood to facilitate their egg production and are also the prime carriers of the pathogens that cause deadly diseases like malaria, Zika, and dengue fever.
The study found that placing a particular Y chromosome gene on the autosomes of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes — a species responsible for transmitting malaria — killed off 100 per cent of all female embryos that inherited this gene.
The extra copy of this gene, which the researchers call Guy1, is passed on to both sexes but only males survive, the study said.
“The Guy1 protein is a strong candidate of the male determining factor in Anopheles stephensi,” said Zhijian “Jake” Tu, Professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US.
“The extra copy of the Guy1 gene is only passed down to half of the progeny, leaving some females among the mosquitoes that did not inherit the gene in the next generation,” added Frank Criscione from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US.
In order to produce all male offspring, all progeny needs to inherit this extra copy of Guy1, which can potentially be achieved by using genome-editing, the researchers stated, in the paper published in the journal eLife.