October 19, 2017
Researchers have developed a gene drive that has the potential to reduce disease-transmitting mosquito populations by limiting female fertility. During a recent experiment, however, they found that mosquitoes gradually develop mutations at gene drive target sites that block the spread of the new genes and restore fertility.
“Reducing the number of mosquito vectors has been the most effective tool to date for the control of malaria, so self-sustaining gene drives designed with this purpose have great potential,” Tony Nolan, PhD, senior research fellow in the department of life sciences at Imperial College London, said in a press release. “However, gene drives are not a silver bullet, and just like antibiotics can select for resistance in bacteria, gene drives can be susceptible to resistance at their target site.”