Transgenic anopheline mosquitoes impaired in transmission of a malaria parasite

Nature. 2002 May 23;417(6887):452-5. doi: 10.1038/417452a.


Malaria is estimated to cause 0.7 to 2.7 million deaths per year, but the actual figures could be substantially higher owing to under-reporting and difficulties in diagnosis. If no new control measures are developed, the malaria death toll is projected to double in the next 20 years. Efforts to control the disease are hampered by drug resistance in the Plasmodium parasites, insecticide resistance in mosquitoes, and the lack of an effective vaccine. Because mosquitoes are obligatory vectors for malaria transmission, the spread of malaria could be curtailed by rendering them incapable of transmitting parasites. Many of the tools required for the genetic manipulation of mosquito competence for malaria transmission have been developed. Foreign genes can now be introduced into the germ line of both culicine and anopheline mosquitoes, and these transgenes can be expressed in a tissue-specific manner. Here we report on the use of such tools to generate transgenic mosquitoes that express antiparasitic genes in their midgut epithelium, thus rendering them inefficient vectors for the disease. These findings have significant implications for the development of new strategies for malaria control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Anopheles / cytology
  • Anopheles / genetics
  • Anopheles / metabolism*
  • Anopheles / parasitology*
  • Antiparasitic Agents / chemistry
  • Antiparasitic Agents / metabolism
  • Disease Vectors*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / parasitology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Germ-Line Mutation / genetics
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Malaria / parasitology*
  • Malaria / prevention & control
  • Malaria / transmission*
  • Male
  • Organ Specificity
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Plasmodium berghei / physiology*
  • Transgenes / genetics
  • Transgenes / physiology


  • Antiparasitic Agents
  • Peptides