Monday, February 28, 2011

Malaria Proof Mosquitoes

Time magazine recently named the development of that have been genetically modified to resist malaria as one of the 50 best inventions of 2010 and gave it the No. 1 spot in the health-and-medicine category.

Now the goal is to make the altered mosquitoes hardier than native varieties, which they could someday supplant in nature throughout the world.

"Our hope is to release them and drive the gene through the population," said professor Shirley Luckhart, a leader in the joint effort between scientists at UC Davis and the University of Arizona.

From an article last week, Researchers work to create malaria-proof mosquitoes, in The Republic Newspaper.

An alternative approach that I very briefly mentioned in class is to use knockout genes to drive certain mosquito species to extinction. This approach was described by Olivia Judson in a New York Times Op-Ed piece in 2003: A Bug's Death.

There's no shortage of ideas. So why are so many people still suffering from malaria and why do so many children die?

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