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Crop Biotech Update

Maleness Gene in Mosquito Discovered; Could Enable Genetic Control of Malaria

July 13, 2016

Scientists at The Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom have isolated a gene which determines maleness in the species of mosquito responsible for transmitting malaria.

Led by Dr. Jaroslaw Krzywinski, Head of the Vector Molecular Biology group at The Pirbright Institute, the team identified and characterized the Yob gene, responsible for regulating the sex of the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and determines maleness.

The scientists identified Yob on the Y chromosome as the dominant male-determining gene, making it only the second known gene of this kind to be molecularly identified in insects. Its key application is its effect on female development. When Yob transcripts were injected into early embryos, females were killed before they hatched from eggs, while male development was unaffected. Conversely, when Yob was silenced in early embryos, the males were killed.

For more details, read the news release at The Pirbright University website.