Combating mosquito-borne diseases using genetic control technologies

Nat Commun. 2021 Jul 19;12(1):4388. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24654-z.


Mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue and malaria, pose significant global health burdens. Unfortunately, current control methods based on insecticides and environmental maintenance have fallen short of eliminating the disease burden. Scalable, deployable, genetic-based solutions are sought to reduce the transmission risk of these diseases. Pathogen-blocking Wolbachia bacteria, or genome engineering-based mosquito control strategies including gene drives have been developed to address these problems, both requiring the release of modified mosquitoes into the environment. Here, we review the latest developments, notable similarities, and critical distinctions between these promising technologies and discuss their future applications for mosquito-borne disease control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insecticides*
  • Malaria / prevention & control
  • Malaria / transmission
  • Male
  • Mosquito Control / methods*
  • Mosquito Vectors
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques / methods*
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Vector Borne Diseases / genetics*
  • Wolbachia / genetics


  • Insecticides