Sea cucumber “new malaria weapon”

Posted on Sun 23 December 2007 in Dispatches • 1 min read

This article on the BBC is about how sea cucumbers produce a protein which impairs the development of the malaria parasites. Which sounds all well in good until you find out that the solution they are seeking is to make a new class of mosquitoes.

Ultimately, one aim of our field is to find a way of genetically engineering mosquitoes so that the malaria parasite cannot develop inside them.”

They apparently have already created a strain of mosquitoes that produce the same protein in their gut, with some success, however introducing these insects to the wild will be difficult.

‘You would have to get the modified version to become the predominant species, and that has never been done in any setting before,’ [Dr Ron Behrens] said.”

Okay, we all know this sort of thing is the future and that it is indeed inevitable, but I can’t help being a little alarmist regarding the creation and introduction of genetically designed mosquitoes that are still interested in human blood to the world.