Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Mosquito CRISPR Control

A CRISPR-based approach may help keep biting mosquitos at bay, the Economist reports.

It notes that mosquitos can carry a range of diseases, including malaria and dengue fever, and that researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, have been examining whether CRISPR can improve a mosquito-control method known as sterile insect technique. Through that approach — which has been used on screwworm flies and fruit flies — sterile males are released into the wild to mate with female insects, but produce no offspring, leading to a population decline, it adds.

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UCSB's Craig Montell and his colleagues report on how they used CRISPR-Cas9 to disrupt the B2t gene that affects male fertility among Aedes aegypti mosquitos. They reasoned that this approach might be better suited for mosquito control, as other mutagenic approaches used to render mosquitos infertile are nonspecific and have wider effects on their health. When they exposed wild-type female Ae. aegypti to both B2t mutant and wild-type males, they found a decrease in female fertility, suggesting this approach could be effective in limiting mosquito population sizes.

Montell tells the Economist that the results are encouraging, but that there is more work to do before any field trials.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.