Date of Award
Daniel Moore PhD
mosquito borne illness, CRISPR, Nix gene, doublesex
Female mosquitoes take blood from humans to gain protein needed to produce eggs, and in the process they can transmit viruses, such as Zika, Dengue, and chikungunya, or parasites, such as malaria. Male mosquitoes do not transmit diseases. This literature review will examine what is known about how sex is determined in mosquitoes and how this can be used to manipulate the females that spread diseases to humans. Using CRISPR Cas9, the lab of Zhijian Tu removed the Nix gene from mosquito embryos; all of these were feminized. Ectopic overexpression of Nix gene product in mosquito embryos caused even genetically female mosquitoes to have male genitalia. Nix has been shown to be a regulating factor for doublesex and fruitless, two other genes known to be involved in sex determination. The Nix gene has highly repetitive features similar to other genes in the Y chromosome of other organisms. Researchers in London have already demonstrated that CRISPR technology can be used to disrupt the female form of doublesex in a population of caged mosquitoes. The females become sterile and the population declines Nix could be used in a similar way to change female mosquitoes to harmless males.
Mahdi, Mohammed, "Male Determining Gene Nix May Bring an End to Transmission of Diseases through Mosquitoes" (2019). Thinking Matters Symposium. 198.