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goatfish57
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11 Jan 2016, 6:17 am

There has been amazing advancements in gene editing technology. One concept is called gene drive where the change is passed to all future offspring. Gene drive is being used to create a mosquito that produces an antibody that kills the malaria parasite.

It sounds wonderful. But, this is the problem I have with it. There is an assumption about the reproduction rate of the introduced species. If they reproduce like all other mosquitoes there will be only a small change in the population. An exponential reproduction rate would increase the success of the strategy.

Somehow, they must make these new mosquitoes genetically superior so they will reproduce more and push out the others.

Nature Magazine Article:'Gene drive' mosquitoes engineered to fight malaria


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ASPartOfMe
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11 Jan 2016, 1:15 pm

Existing thread on topic
CRISPR-Cas9 The 2015 Name For Eugenics


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goatfish57
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11 Jan 2016, 1:34 pm

Thanks, the eugenics aspects of CRISPR is troubling. I was trying to get my head around the reproduction rate and traits required for the modified mosquitoes to become dominant.


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naturalplastic
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11 Jan 2016, 9:16 pm

The malaria protozoa lives in the mosquito for part of its lifecycle, and then lives in humans.

Though it doesnt give the mosquito malaria it probably somehow feeds off the mosquito's body. So the mosquito might be better off without it. So a mosquito that is able to rid itself of the microbe might have a slight advantage ( a wild guess). And that advantage might translate into more reproduction. Kinda like a dog with a flea collar might have a slight advantage over a dog without a flea collar. And since mosquitos in the tropics have many generations a year then that might add up. Just a guess.



goatfish57
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12 Jan 2016, 5:46 am

Thanks, that is a good idea


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goatfish57
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12 Jan 2016, 9:50 am

I have been thinking about it wrong. An area is sprayed and the mutant mosquitoes are released. They mate with the survivors, who may have a resistance to the insecticide. As the population returns to normal, the mutant becomes dominant in the area.


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naturalplastic
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12 Jan 2016, 11:46 am

goatfish57 wrote:
I have been thinking about it wrong. An area is sprayed and the mutant mosquitoes are released. They mate with the survivors, who may have a resistance to the insecticide. As the population returns to normal, the mutant becomes dominant in the area.


Makes sense.