Biotech Updates

First-Ever Gene Editing Success in Kissing Bugs

April 24, 2024

A study published in The CRISPR Journal shows that gene editing of kissing bugs, a primary vector for Chagas disease, is made possible through CRISPR-Cas9 technology for the first time. This milestone opens up new strategies and opportunities to mitigate Chagas disease.

Chagas disease is a significant public health concern, affecting millions of lives in America, particularly in Central and South America. Due to the limited treatment options, controlling the vectors through gene editing could be a great alternative to help control the spread of this potentially life-threatening disease.

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and partners have developed a technology called Receptor-Mediated Ovary Transduction of Cargo or ReMOT Control, where materials are directly injected into the circulatory system of the mother and guide the material to the developing eggs. "It's the equivalent of injecting every single egg in her body all at the same time,” Dr. Jason Rasgon, Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Endowed Chair in Disease Epidemiology and Biotechnology and co-author of the study, said.

The research team demonstrates the effectiveness of ReMOT Control by targeting genes associated with the eye and cuticle color. They injected female kissing bugs with genetic edits and observed changes in eye and cuticle color in the offspring, indicating successful gene editing of kissing bugs.

For more information, read the article from Pennsylvania State University.

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