Tuesday, December 18, 2012

GM Mosquitoes! #1

You are troubled at the mid-night? Your days are affected due to the lack of sound sleep? I can understand; The "mosquitoes", they are responsible for all this. We can bear with them if they are just biting and sucking a drop of blood, but, never, when they are injecting us with something like a "doctor", that too, which is never going to cure the disease like doctor's injection, but, going to give us disease.

Mosquito bats, liquids :( even with the help of these things, we are getting malaria, dengue, chikungunya :( :(

Scientists had found a solution for this greatest problem of our night!(nowadays daytime too)

GM mosquitoes, these genetically modified species are resistant to diseases like malaria. 

How malaria generally spreads!
As we all know, its because of mosquitoes, especially the female Anopheles mosquito which gets the virus when it sucks blood from an infected animal/human.

Half of the life cycle of the Plasmodium species (the malaria causing protist) happens in the  mosquitoes. So, to prevent the spread of Malaria (or any other mosquito spread disease) we must prevent the mosquito from getting affected by the disease.

HOW Genetic Modification done?
First, the mosquito should not get affected by the malarial protist i.e. it must be resistant against the plasmodium. When this is possible,  mosquitoes are not affected by plasmodium, thus humans are also not affected.

In the case of malaria: The gene responsible for fighting against malaria must be triggered. The gene is responsible for the production of a protein (they say SM1 peptide). This protein when produced, fights against malaria, i.e, the mosquito will become resistant to Malaria!

  • These GM Mosquitoes are weak, thus, reducing their chance of survival.
In the begining of the experiments conducted in the lab, there was 50/50 chances for GM and wild.
After 9 egg laying cycles they found this incresed to 70/30 for GM and wild.

You may wonder, here, GM has good surviving rate! yes, This is in the presence of malarial infection, but, when there is no malarial infection at all (i.e. the mosquitoes suck blood from healthy individuals only), the GM mosquitoes fail to outsurvive the wild type.

  • You know, these microbes are smart! 
There is every possiblity for resistance development. These Plasmodium's could modify themselves to infect the mosquitoes, thus, leading to the evolution of a new plasmodium speices which would be more powerful than the previously existing types. And, we can't control these new protists with existing medicines or treatments.

We can look about control of Dengue using GM mosquitoes in the next post very soon.

Read more about this @ 

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