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Cas9 Expression in Mosquito Germlines Could Help Prevent Disease Spread

04:54 EST 15 Nov 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Pathogenic arboviruses including dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and zika, are all spread by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti . Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), have now developed transgenic strains of this mosquito that stably express the Cas9 enzyme in their germline, making CRISPR genome editing fast and efficient, and opening up the potential to develop ‘gene drive’ strategies for controlling mosquito populations in the wild. As an initial proof of concept the researchers, headed by Omar Akbari, an assistant professor of entomology in UCR's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, disrupted different genes in the Cas9-expressing mosquito embryos, which affected vision, flight and blood feeding. “Overall, our results demonstrate that our simplified transgenic Cas9 system has improved capacity to rapidly induce highly efficient and specific targeted genome modifications, including gene disruptions, deletions, and insertions,” the researchers write in their published paper in the Proceedings of the ...

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