mosquito control through modified fungus

by rhiguita on May 9, 2017 - 8:37am

Cloning, genetic engineering and characterization of TMOF expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to control larval mosquitoes


The article is on the results and method on what effect genetically modified yeast can have on mosquito larvae development. The research project was conducted by Dov Borovsky, Sabine Nauewelaers, Charles A. Powell, and Robert G. Shatters Jr at the University of Florida and USDA Horticultural Research Laboratory. The main result in the experiment was that the modified organism, when released in water containing mosquito larvae retarded their growth and made them deformed and stunted, as well as making it likely the larvae would die. The main site of recombination and modification was ura3-52, and it was modified with pTDB2 , and each cell incorporated the gene in the modified organism. They found heat treatment had no effect on growth, and the organisms were incubated for 48 hours.

I found this article interesting both due to my interest in genetics and my interest in entomology. I am in massive support of this plan and research on the modification as mosquitoes are a terrible pest that spreads many diseases, and the control mechanisms will assist in limiting the spread of the diseases they carry. The article was highly scientific and had large amounts of charts and graphs to show the basics of what they studied.


I am commenting on this article because with Zika and other mosquito spread diseases being so prominent, it peaked my interest. I completely, 100% am in support of this plan and research on the modification of their genetics because it has the potential to help reduce the spread of diseases. Although the process does stunt their growth and make them deformed, I do believe it would be for the better of human health. One thing to consider is that mosquitoes have become more and more genetically tolerant to pesticides over the years, so if this process does become mainstream, would populations of mosquitoes eventually adapt to it?- something to think about.

I believe that if a person lives near the tropics or even in the southern U.S., he/she would definitely take an interest into this study [1]. The reason is because Zika is becoming more and more prominent as time goes on, and if scientists are able to modify them to limit their growth in population, he/she would see it in a positive light.


This review caught my attention as it was only last year or so that the Zika virus was making all the headlines. Those of us who followed the ‘epidemic’ from a genetic standpoint must have heard the Fed’s approval to release genetically modified mosquitos to fight Zika.

Now I wonder which plan would be more effective (and practical) against malaria and other mosquito-born illnesses. Would we somehow expose mosquitos on a mass scale to Saccharomyces cerevisiae (by adding the yeast to all water sources), or release GMO mosquitos into the wild?

One thing I am certain of, thanks to lateral gene transfer and plasmids, mosquito-born viruses would probably adapt at some point regardless of the strategy.

the main idea with the fungus is that it would be more difficult for mosquitoes to respond to compared to viruses or sterilization as it would cause starvation amongst the larvae, resulting in lower chances for survival amongst the mosquitoes variants, but the main concern is how it affects other water born microbes and larvae.

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