US scientists say they have bred a genetically modified (GM) mosquito that can resist malaria infection.
If the lab technique works in the field, it could offer a new way of stopping the biting insects from spreading malaria to humans, they say.
The scientists put a new “resistance” gene into the mosquito’s own DNA, using a gene editing method called Crispr.
And when the GM mosquitoes mated – their offspring inherited the same resistance, PNAS journal reports.
In theory, if these mosquitoes bite people, they should not be able to pass on the parasite that causes malaria.
About 3.2bn people – almost half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria.
Bed nets, insecticides and repellents can help stop the insects biting and drugs can be given to anyone who catches the infection, but the disease still kills around 580,000 people a year.
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