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Synthetic Biology underpins advances in the bioeconomy

Biological systems - including the simplest cells - exhibit a broad range of functions to thrive in their environment. Research in the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology is focused on the possibility of engineering the underlying biochemical processes to solve many of the challenges facing society, from healthcare to sustainable energy. In particular, we model, analyse, design and build biological and biochemical systems in living cells and/or in cell extracts, both exploring and enhancing the engineering potential of biology. 

As part of our research we develop novel methods to accelerate the celebrated Design-Build-Test-Learn synthetic biology cycle. As such research in the Centre for Synthetic Biology highly multi- and interdisciplinary covering computational modelling and machine learning approaches; automated platform development and genetic circuit engineering ; multi-cellular and multi-organismal interactions, including gene drive and genome engineering; metabolic engineering; in vitro/cell-free synthetic biology; engineered phages and directed evolution; and biomimetics, biomaterials and biological engineering.



BibTex format

author = {Debalke, S and Habtewold, T and Duchateau, L and Christophides, G},
doi = {10.1186/s13071-019-3414-y},
journal = {Parasites & Vectors},
title = {The effect of silencing immunity related genes on longevity in a naturally occurring Anopheles arabiensis mosquito population from southwest Ethiopia},
url = {},
volume = {12},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - BackgroundVector control remains the most important tool to prevent malaria transmission. However, it is now severely constrained by the appearance of physiological and behavioral insecticide resistance. Therefore, the development of new vector control tools is warranted. Such tools could include immunization of blood hosts of vector mosquitoes with mosquito proteins involved in midgut homeostasis (anti-mosquito vaccines) or genetic engineering of mosquitoes that can drive population-wide knockout of genes producing such proteins to reduce mosquito lifespan and malaria transmission probability.MethodsTo achieve this, candidate genes related to midgut homeostasis regulation need to be assessed for their effect on mosquito survival. Here, different such candidate genes were silenced through dsRNA injection in the naturally occurring Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes and the effect on mosquito survival was evaluated.ResultsSignificantly higher mortality rates were observed in the mosquitoes silenced for FN3D1 (AARA003032), FN3D3 (AARA007751) and GPRGr9 (AARA003963) genes as compared to the control group injected with dsRNA against a non-related bacterial gene (LacZ). This observed difference in mortality rate between the candidate genes and the control disappeared when gene-silenced mosquitoes were treated with antibiotic mixtures, suggesting that gut microbiota play a key role in the observed reduction of mosquito survival.ConclusionsWe demonstrated that interference with the expression of the FN3D1, FN3D3 or GPRGr9 genes causes a significant reduction of the longevity of An. arabiensis mosquito in the wild.
AU - Debalke,S
AU - Habtewold,T
AU - Duchateau,L
AU - Christophides,G
DO - 10.1186/s13071-019-3414-y
PY - 2019///
SN - 1756-3305
TI - The effect of silencing immunity related genes on longevity in a naturally occurring Anopheles arabiensis mosquito population from southwest Ethiopia
T2 - Parasites & Vectors
UR -
UR -
VL - 12
ER -