mosquito malariaWe might be well into the first half of the second decade of this century, where technological advancements have allowed those on the moon could have a decent Internet connection, while astronauts stay abreast with social networks by sending Vines from space. Unfortunately, a relic from years past known as malaria continues to exist, killing an untold number of infected people each year, especially those living in poor and underdeveloped areas. Is there a way to stop this scourge? Perhaps, using a genetically modified mosquito which ought to produce nearly all male offspring might be the answer. After all, having way too many males might lead to entire mosquito populations eradicated due to the lack of females.

So, what is the “hit rate” like? Well, laboratory tests have shown that up to 95% of eggs that were laid by the new strain of Anopheles gambiae mosquito were hatched as males. Lead researcher Professor Andrea Crisanti, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, shared: “Malaria is debilitating and often fatal and we need to find new ways of tackling it. We think our innovative approach is a huge step forward. For the very first time, we have been able to inhibit the production of female offspring in the laboratory and this provides a new means to eliminate the disease.”

The World Health Organisation claims that 627,000 die from malaria each year, no thanks to bites by the Anopheles mosquitoes that carry the deadly single-celled parasite. Will this development even lead to the extinction of mosquitoes that carry the malaria-causing parasite? I know that they won’t be missed…

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