Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Staving off Resistance

Evolution is a likely stumbling block for getting gene drives to promulgate a desired gene through a species, Nature News reports.

Researchers, like those at Target Malaria, are hoping to use CRISPR-based gene drives to eradicate malaria-carrying mosquitoes by introducing a mutation that causes infertility.

But, according to Nature News, lab experiments have not only shown that the mutation can increase in proportion in a mosquito population, but also that resistance to the gene drive can crop up. This, Cornell University's Philipp Messer tells Nature News, isn't all that surprising. In particular, the Target Malaria team noted an increase in mosquitoes in their experiments with garbled CRISPR-targeting sites that the tool no longer recognized, though other forms of resistance may also occur, it adds.

To slow the development of resistant strains, researchers are trying to target multiple sites in one gene or multiple genes, Nature News says, noting that resistance is unavoidable. It adds that the Target Malaria team is working on a second-generation of gene drives.