Blog Post - Technology and Policy

Scientists can create malaria-proof mosquitoes – but is the world ready?

| June 10, 2016

The ability to edit the genetic code of organisms is hailed as one of the most profound technological achievements of the last five years. Specific techniques known as “gene drives” can transmit inheritable traits throughout the entire population of an organism.

There are several ways by which gene drives can be used to control major diseases such as malaria, which killed nearly 395,000 people in Africa in 2015. One approach is to introduce gene drives that induce sterility in mosquitoes. Another is to release mosquitoes that do not transmit malaria into the environment.

According to a newly released report by the US National Academies, Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values, gene drives “hold promise for addressing difficult-to-solve challenges, such as the eradication of insect-borne infectious diseases and the conservation of threatened and endangered species.”

This article was published by the World Economic Forum. Read more here:

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Juma, Calestous.Scientists can create malaria-proof mosquitoes – but is the world ready?.” Technology and Policy, June 10, 2016,

The Author

Calestous Juma