Navigation Links
Selfish DNA and the Genetic Control of Vector-Borne Diseases
Date:11/20/2007

Mosquito borne diseases such as malaria and dengue cause suffering and death around the world. Malaria alone causes at least one million deaths annually, and is particularly devastating in children under the age of five. In addition to the human toll, these diseases consume vast economic resources in the very communities that can least afford it. Various approaches to controlling these diseases such as insecticides, vaccine development, and preventive medicine have had limited success. The insect vectors responsible for spread of these diseases are widespread, numerous and adapt rapidly.

Another possibility for reducing the spread of disease by these insect vectors is genetically modifying the mosquitoes. Scientists have introduced genes into mosquitoes that render them unable to carry the human pathogens they often harbor and transmit to people. However, releasing these genetically modified mosquitoes into wild populations would not change the rate of disease transmission. In order to reduce pathogen transmission, it is critical that the modified mosquitoes supplant the wild population. Population genetics tells us that this is unlikely to occur under normal conditions even if huge numbers of modified mosquitoes are released into the wild.

One way to promote the spread of anti-pathogen genes in a population is by linking them with selfish genetic elements. Selfish genetic elements are pieces of DNA that propagate much more rapidly in populations than other DNA. By linking the desired genes with these rapidly spreading selfish elements, researchers believe that entire populations of mosquitoes can be changed from vectors of deadly pathogens to merely annoying pests.

There are a number of naturally occurring selfish genetic elements. The most familiar of these are transposable elements, often called jumping genes, but more exotic examples include sex ratio distorters, and gamete killers. Each selfish element uses a slightly different mechanism involving clever molecular manipulations which result in the reduction of other genotypes. Recently, a synthetic form of one of these selfish elements, the Medea element, was created by researchers. This tame selfish element may be more tractable in the development of effectively modified mosquitoes, bringing researchers closer to the goal of reducing the transmission of pathogens by insect vectors.

To accomplish this goal, researchers working on the molecular biology of selfish DNA must combine forces with entomologists and population geneticists who study these same genes at the level of the organism or populations of organisms. This is a challenge because most individual researchers tend to interact only with others in their fields and often have only a superficial understanding and appreciation for work on other aspects of selfish genetic elements. In part this is because scientists from these different backgrounds do not often have an opportunity to interact and this hampers their ability develop fruitful collaborations.

To overcome this isolation, the organizers of this meeting are bringing together leading scientists working on this problem from different perspectives to exchange information and discuss new approaches for using selfish genetic elements to control vector-borne diseases. This kind of synthetic, cross-fertilization can lead to breakthroughs in research and advance the field by creating opportunities for new collaborations. The organizers hope to move the research forward in this field and shorten the time-line for producing a practical solution to controlling disease vectors.

Selfish DNA and the Genetic Control of Vector-Borne Diseases

WHEN: December 5-7, 2007

WHERE: National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), Durham, NC, USA

ORGANIZERS: Fred Gould, North Carolina State University; Steven Sinkins, University of Oxford; Daniel Hartl, Harvard University

CONTACT: Kristin Jenkins, NESCent Education and Outreach, 919.668.4544, kjenkins@nescent.org


'/>"/>

Contact: Kristin Jenkins
kjenkins@nescent.org
919-668-4544
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Does the desire to consume alcohol and tobacco come from our genetic makeup?
2. Diverse genetic abnormalities lead to NF-κB activation in multiple myeloma
3. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
4. Genetics determine optimal drug dose of common anticoagulant
5. Claims of sex-related differences in genetic association studies often not properly validated
6. American College of Medical Genetics responds to new FDA labeling decision for warfarin
7. UNC study questions FDA genetic-screening guidelines for cancer drug
8. Genome study shines light on genetic link to height
9. Selexis Announces Advanced Approach to Maximize Power of Genetic Elements for Rapid Development of High Performance Cell Lines
10. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
11. Rutgers Genetics receives $7.8 million for autism research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell ... Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into ... data, the first application of deep learning to create ... cell lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. ... these and future publicly available resources created and shared ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market ... CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. ... for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented ... The stem cell market of the product is segmented ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis ... a statistically significant association between the potency ... and objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. ... whether cancer patients will respond to CAR-T ... as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... -- VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, has ... (CNE) network, which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs ... professionals to enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer ... care professionals to help women who have been diagnosed and ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are ... 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are affected by ... in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal ... the treatment of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive global ... technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Additionally, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: