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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Discover Gene that Can Reduce Female Mosquitoes

September 28, 2016

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VirginiaTech) have found a gene that can reduce the population of female mosquitoes over many generations. Female mosquitoes bite to get blood for egg production, and are carriers of pathogens causing malaria, Zika, and dengue fever.

Zhijian Tu and colleagues found that placing a particular Y chromosome gene on the autosomes of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes (mosquito species that transmit malaria) killed off 100 percent of all female embryos that inherited this gene. The extra copy of this gene, called Guy1, is passed on to both sexes but only males survive.

The extra copy of Guy1 is passed down to half of the progeny, leaving some females that did not inherit the gene. To produce all male offspring, all progeny needs to inherit the extra copy of Guy1, and the group said that this is their future objective, which can achieved through genome editing.

For more details, read the news release at VirginiaTech News.