Malaria, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development, continues to be a leading cause of illness and death worldwide. Despite extensive work that has produced widespread improvements in fighting the spread of the disease, global efforts have hit a plateau.
The breakthrough came when the team, led by Fralin Life Science Institute researcher Zac Mackey, discovered that the parasite Trypanosoma brucei uses a distinct method to perform a biochemical process known as phosphorylation.
Eric Day, manager of the Virginia Tech Insect Identification Lab, reminds residents that understanding basic mosquito habits and taking steps to disrupt their lifecycles can reduce the threat significantly.
In a new paper, the researchers discuss how recent breakthroughs in CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology coupled with their discovery last year of a male sex determining gene Nix could be a winning combination for tipping the male-female mosquito ratio in the wild.
With unexpected viral threats continually emerging, Fralin Life Science Institute scientists say the key is to develop a sound research infrastructure that’s in place and ready to go to rapidly respond to the next threat.
Virginia Tech scientists used a pair of engineered proteins to cut DNA in a site-specific manner to disrupt a targeted gene in the mosquito genome. The technique could be useful for controlling mosquito-transmitted diseases.