The development of gene drive technology promises to overcome many of the roadblocks that so far have hampered the eradication of malaria in resource poor countries. My group have utilised this technology to spread genetic modifications impairing mosquito reproductive capability either targeting genes involved in female fertility or inducing male sex bias in the progeny. This works using a class of engineered enzymes that cut unique DNA sequences known as homing endonucleases (HEG) at defined chromosomal locations. During meiosis the cleavage site is repaired by homologous recombination using as a template the allele carrying the HEG, thereby increasing the frequency of the genetic modification in the progeny.
Recently, my laboratory’s work has demonstrated that CRISPR/CAS9 can be programmed to attack a conserved region of the sex determination gene, doublesex, which impairs female development and could spread effectively to 100% of the population in a few generations, and thereby causing population collapse.
I am founding co-ordinator of INFRAVEC, an initiative to build research capacity for the implementation of genetic control of mosquitoes, and Co-Principal Investigator of its current rendition, INFRAVEC2. I am Editor-in-Chief of infectious disease journal, Pathogens and Global Health.
I am Coordinator and teacher of the BSc course "Advanced Topics in Parasitology and Vector Biology” and supervisor of approximately 30 doctoral theses in the field of biology and genetics of vectors of infectious diseases and in the field of host-parasite and parasite-vector interactions at the University of London.
Lucy Collyns, firstname.lastname@example.org
European Commission related enquiries:
Clelia Supparo, email@example.com
Christo Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org and if Target Malaria related, please cc in Olivia Majorin, email@example.com
Science moves closer to killing malaria with mutant mosquitos (WIRED)
Giving Malaria a Deadline (The New York Times)
A new genetic-engineering technology could spell the end for malaria (The Economist)
Mosquitoes ‘tricked into extinction’ (The Times)
Gene editing wipes out mosquitoes in the lab (BBC)