Gene Drive Supplement

Study Shows California Residents' Perceptions of Gene Drive Systems to Control Mosquito-Borne Diseases

March 30, 2022

A study that involved 136 individuals in California explores views on mosquito-borne disease risk, current mosquito control methods, and the proposed development and use of gene drive approaches to control Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

A. aegypti mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as Zika, Dengue, Yellow Fever, and Chikungunya. Changes in climate and global trade have brought A. aegypti to new and different regions, including California, where the species was first identified in 2013. Currently, diseases transmitted by A. aegypti are rare in California, but traditional vector control methods are proving less and less effective. New approaches to controlling this disease vector are needed. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego, presents a qualitative analysis of data collected from focus groups in California, comparing the benefits and concerns regarding genetically modified and gene drive mosquitoes.

Prior to the polls, 45.6% of the participants thought mosquitoes were a problem in their area and 50.7% thought they were not (3.7% did not answer the poll). After presenting both genetically engineered (GE) and gene drive methods to control mosquitoes, the participants noted appealing features and concerns for these approaches. The participants pointed to two appealing features of the genetically engineered system—these work without the use of pesticides and unlike pesticides, they target only specific species. While participants found the potential efficacy, cost-efficiency, and control of these systems appealing, they also expressed their concern and asked questions regarding their development, effectiveness, and cost.

For more details, read the original research article published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

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