Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Disable Protective Gene In Mosquitoes Using CRISPR-Cas9

March 22, 2023

Kevin Myles shows the containers of mosquitoes used in his research. The study revealed immune pathways that could be disabled making the mosquitoes more susceptible to the diseases they carry and pass to humans. Photo Source: Michael Miller/Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists have successfully disabled the immune pathways that protect mosquitoes from human pathogens, including West Nile, Zika, and dengue viruses, using CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

The research team led by Kevin Myles, professor of entomology at the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said the findings could potentially be used to control the transmission of many different vector-borne diseases to humans and animals.

Myles' team used CRISPR-Cas9 to knock out a key gene involved in the antiviral immune response of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Their research shows that A. aegypti mosquitoes become acutely susceptible to disease when their protective immune pathway is disabled. This discovery provides new insight into the ecological and evolutionary interactions between mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit to humans and animals.

For more details, read the article in Texas A&M Today.