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The World in Medicine
March 12, 2003

The Danger Within or Without?

JAMA. 2003;289(10):1234. doi:10.1001/jama.289.10.1234-a

Researchers hailed the recent sequencing of the genomes of the malaria parasite and the Anopheles mosquito vector that transmits the infection as advances that would foster new approaches to combat the disease. One such approach under study involves genetically modifying the mosquito so that it is no longer able to transmit the disease, then releasing the altered mosquitoes to breed in the wild and spread the antimalarial genes.

Now, researchers from England and Italy found in laboratory studies that mosquitoes that were modified with marker genes (to allow scientists to track them) competed poorly with their wild counterparts and the introduced genes disappeared within just 16 generations (Science. 2003;299:1225-1227).

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