Start Date

8-5-2020 12:00 AM

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Southern Maine Community College

Advisor

Daniel Moore, PhD

Abstract

Malaria is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite that is transmitted by the Anopheles female mosquito. Some parts of the world, such as the US, have successfully eliminated malaria, but malaria is still an enormous threat in many African countries. Although efforts exist to prevent and control the spread of malaria, the rate of death it causes is still higher in the poorest countries. The use of impregnated mosquito nets and insecticides do not seem to be enough to stop it. This review of the literature will discuss some genetic approaches to controlling mosquitoes. One such approach has been to release sterile male mosquitoes to suppress a population of mosquitoes. Another approach has been to release male mosquitoes that are carriers for a gene designed to cause flightless females. CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing systems are powerful new tools to delete, replace, or insert specific DNA sequences in living organisms. The CRISPR technology also provides a way to create an effective gene drive, a technology that could be used to genetically modify an entire mosquito population. Advancements in genetic technology provide more powerful tools to combat disease vectors for a better world. However, there will be ethical, environmental, and political issues that must be considered since powerful genetic modifications will spread beyond national boundaries.

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May 8th, 12:00 AM

CAS9 Mediated Gene Drive Might be the Best Way to Eradicate Malaria Worldwide

Malaria is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite that is transmitted by the Anopheles female mosquito. Some parts of the world, such as the US, have successfully eliminated malaria, but malaria is still an enormous threat in many African countries. Although efforts exist to prevent and control the spread of malaria, the rate of death it causes is still higher in the poorest countries. The use of impregnated mosquito nets and insecticides do not seem to be enough to stop it. This review of the literature will discuss some genetic approaches to controlling mosquitoes. One such approach has been to release sterile male mosquitoes to suppress a population of mosquitoes. Another approach has been to release male mosquitoes that are carriers for a gene designed to cause flightless females. CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing systems are powerful new tools to delete, replace, or insert specific DNA sequences in living organisms. The CRISPR technology also provides a way to create an effective gene drive, a technology that could be used to genetically modify an entire mosquito population. Advancements in genetic technology provide more powerful tools to combat disease vectors for a better world. However, there will be ethical, environmental, and political issues that must be considered since powerful genetic modifications will spread beyond national boundaries.

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