From the recent reports out of California and other places, it appears that anophelines can be genetically modified so that (1) they are no longer susceptible to plasmodium infections, and (2) their progeny will be all males! If this can be developed for field use, it looks to me like it is the Beginning of the End of malaria in Africa. But I am an engineer with no experience in genetics. Do you think that this technique can be developed for field application?
To quote the New York Times Science section of 22 December, “A gene drive designed to render a population extinct is known as a crash drive. A crash drive being developed for mosquitoes consists of a gene engineered into the Y chromosome that shreds the X chromosome in the cells that make the mosquito’s sperm, thus ensuring that all progeny are male. Unless the drive itself is damaged through mutation, the number of females would be expected to dwindle each generation until the population collapses….”
So I think this would result first in reduction in the number of females, and thus reduction in transmission. If continued, it would then mean local elimination of the species being modified.
The NY Times article refers to a difficult to read report in:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in USA, 2015 Dec 8;112(49):E6736-43. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1521077112. Epub 2015 Nov 23.
Highly efficient Cas9-mediated gene drive for population modification of the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles stephensi, by Gantz VM, Jasinskiene N, Tatarenkova O, Fazekas A, Macias VM, Bier E, James AA.