Malaria, dengue, Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases pose a major global health burden throughout much of the world. Wide-scale distribution of bed nets and antimalarial drugs has led to recent declines in malaria transmission; however over 600,000 people continue to die each year from the disease. For dengue, there is no effective cure or vaccine available, and cases continue to rise. The advent of CRISPR-Cas9-based gene editing and its demonstrated ability to streamline the development of gene drive systems has reignited the field along with interest in its ability to control mosquito-borne diseases; however, several pertinent questions remain to be addressed. For instance, will it ever be possible to conduct a meaningful field trial for a gene drive system that has the potential to spread into neighboring communities and across international borders? And are problems related to the rapid generation of drive-resistant alleles surmountable? In this talk, I will discuss the work of my research group (www.MarshallLab.com) in addressing these questions through the use of mathematical models in close collaboration with molecular biologists, ecologists and epidemiologists, along with new research directions to better understand mosquito movement using genomic data.
Can Malaria, Dengue, and Zika be Controlled by a
CRISPR-based Gene Drive?
Assistant Professor in Residence, School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley