Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fighting disease from within the mosquito: New techniques to help halt the spread of disease

Date:
April 10, 2013
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
Scientists have revealed a new technique to introduce disease-blocking bacteria into mosquitoes, with promising results that may halt the spread of diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and potentially malaria.

Scientists have revealed a new technique to introduce disease-blocking bacteria into mosquitoes, with promising results that may halt the spread of diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and potentially malaria.

When infected with the bacteria Wolbachia, mosquitoes are unable to spread viruses such as dengue, a disease which kills round 40,000 people each year with no vaccines or specific treatments currently available. There have been around 2,400 cases of dengue infection in Northern Australia in recent years.

However, the bacteria has been difficult to spread within the mosquito population because it reduces the mosquitoes' ability to lay viable eggs.

Now Professor Hoffmann from the University of Melbourne and Professor Michale Turelli from the University of California have shown that by introducing an insecticide resistance gene alongside the Wolbachia bacteria into the mosquito, that the insects pass on the disease-blocking bacteria to other mosquitoes faster. The results are published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

This could mean that the spread of disease can be stopped faster, and less infected mosquitoes would need to be released in a disease control program said Professor Ary Hoffmann from the University of Melbourne's Bio21 Institute and Department of Genetics.

"Our results show that Wolbachia-based strategies could hold the key to a cheap and sustainable approach to disease control," Professor Hoffmann said.

Wolbachia bacteria strains live naturally inside up to 70% of all insects and are known to protect them against viral infection. The disease-blocking strain of Wolbachia was first discovered in Australian fruit flies in 1988 by Prof Hoffmann, and trials with collaborators at Monash and James Cook Universities in 2011 showed that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes were unable to spread the dengue virus.

The approach taken in this new work involves adding a pesticide resistance gene to a newer strain of Wolbachia called wMelPop, which is a strong blocker of dengue and other viruses . Insecticide use is very common in dengue and malaria-prone regions and so this strategy should select for the survival of only the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, but then these insects would be unable to pass on a virus to humans.

Prof Hoffmann added that insecticide resistance genes would not spread to the uninfected mosquito populations because a Wolbachia-infected female with a resistance gene will always pass on both the gene and the bacteria to her offspring. Then, when an uninfected female mates with an infected male, the bacterium causes cytoplasmic incompatibility, which leads to the death of embryos.

"So the association between resistance and the infection is maintained, the resistance does not move into the rest of the population, and the strategy can utilize insecticides that are no longer part of active mosquito control programs."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. A. Hoffmann, M. Turelli. Facilitating Wolbachia introductions into mosquito populations through insecticide-resistance selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013; 280 (1760): 20130371 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0371

Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Fighting disease from within the mosquito: New techniques to help halt the spread of disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410103924.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2013, April 10). Fighting disease from within the mosquito: New techniques to help halt the spread of disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410103924.htm
University of Melbourne. "Fighting disease from within the mosquito: New techniques to help halt the spread of disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410103924.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins