Transgenic malaria-resistant mosquitoes have a fitness advantage when feeding on Plasmodium-infected blood

Mauro T. Marrelli, Chaoyang Li, Jason L. Rasgon, Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The introduction of genes that impair Plasmodium development into mosquito populations is a strategy being considered for malaria control. The effect of the transgene on mosquito fitness is a crucial parameter influencing the success of this approach. We have previously shown that anopheline mosquitoes expressing the SM1 peptide in the midgut lumen are impaired for transmission of Plasmodium berghei. Moreover, the transgenic mosquitoes had no noticeable fitness load compared with nontransgenic mosquitoes when fed on noninfected mice. Here we show that when fed on mice infected with P. berghei, these transgenic mosquitoes are more fit (higher fecundity and lower mortality) than sibling non-transgenic mosquitoes. In cage experiments, transgenic mosquitoes gradually replaced nontransgenics when mosquitoes were maintained on mice infected with gametocyte-producing parasites (strain ANKA 2.34) but not when maintained on mice infected with gametocyte-deficient parasites (strain ANKA 2.33). These findings suggest that when feeding on Plasmodium-infected blood, transgenic malaria-resistant mosquitoes have a selective advantage over nontransgenic mosquitoes. This fitness advantage has important implications for devising malaria control strategies by means of genetic modification of mosquitoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5580-5583
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 27 2007


  • Gene drive
  • Genetic modification
  • Malaria control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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