Research press release


Nature Biotechnology

Genetic engineering can drive mosquitoes to early grave



今回Andrea Crisantiたちは、マラリアを媒介するガンビアハマダラカ(Anopheles gambiae)の高度に保存された性決定経路を標的として、CRISPRを用いた新しい遺伝子ドライブを設計した。この遺伝子ドライブは、ケージ中の蚊に急速に拡散するが、抵抗性は生じないことが分かった。この遺伝子ドライブによって、これまで実現していなかった集団の完全な壊滅を引き起こすことができた。


A new gene drive can cause the complete collapse of caged malaria-carrying mosquito populations, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Biotechnology. No mutations arose to block the drive’s spread in lab experiments, making this the first gene drive with the potential to work in the wild.

Gene drives are built to spread specific genes throughout a population within a few generations by biasing inheritance of the genes in offspring. In mosquitoes, CRISPR-based gene drives can transmit specific genes to 99% of offspring, compared to the 50% transmission rate expected for regular genes. A gene drive designed to reduce female mosquito fertility was previously shown to spread in caged insects and reduce the size of their population. However, follow-up experiments found that the mosquitoes eventually developed resistance to the gene drive, which prevented further spread, meaning that that particular strategy would not work in the wild to eliminate mosquitoes.

Andrea Crisanti and colleagues report a new CRISPR-based gene drive designed to target the highly conserved sex-determination pathway in the malarial mosquito Anopheles gambiae. They find that the gene drive spreads rapidly in caged mosquitoes without them developing resistance. This causes a complete population collapse, which has not been achieved before.

The authors conclude that the rapid and complete spread of this gene drive, together with the absence of resistance, make confined field trials a realistic next step.

doi: 10.1038/nbt.4245

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