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CRISPR based gene drive approaches for population control of malaria mosquitoes

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Maya Ben Yami.

CRISPR -CAS9 nucleases have recently been employed in gene drive systems to target endogenous sequences of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles stephensi with the objective to develop genetic vector control measures. These gene drives have potential of to modify the genetic makeup of a species and change its evolutionary destiny either by suppressing its reproductive capability or permanently modifying the outcome of the mosquito-Plasmodium parasite interaction. However, a number of technical and scientific issues need be addressed, mainly the development of resistance to the gene drive.

To validate alternative gene drive targets, Professor Crisanti has manipulated the sex determination differentiation pathway of A. gambiae mosquitoes by selectively blocking the formation of the female splice transcript of the highly conserved, alternatively spliced gene double sex (dsx). The conserved functional role of dsx for sex determination in all insect species so far analysed suggests that these sequences could represent an Achilles heel for similar gene drive solutions aimed at targeting other vector species and agricultural pests.

The talk is open to the public!

Start: 18:00 1hr talk followed by a Q&A, then cheese & wine & a chat!

Where: Pfizer lecture theatre, Chemistry department

Members: Free | Non-members: £3

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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