Could Genetically Engineered Insects Squash Mosquito-Borne Diseases?

Transgenic female mosquitoes expressing a fluorescent protein (glowing blue) and nontransgenic mosquitoes (no color). Image courtesy of A.A. James

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2:00-4:00pm. For nearly two decades, scientists have discussed the prospect of genetically engineering mosquitoes as a means to control malaria. Last year, two teams of researchers demonstrated that it’s now technologically feasible. One team, at Imperial College London, engineered a “selfish gene” into mosquitoes, which spread through more than 90 percent of offspring and crippled egg production.