A seminar by Dr Tony Nolan. LSTM
The scope for genome editing – the ability to target and introduce changes to virtually any sequence in a genome – has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of genetic traits in insect vectors that underly key processes relevant for disease control such as parasite:vector interactions, reproduction, behaviour and insecticide resistance.
The same genome editing tools can themselves also be repurposed for a form of vector control called gene drive. One type of gene drive relies on introducing a mutation in the germline and copying this mutation prior to, or during, the process of gamete formation so that an individual carrying the gene drive transmits the associated mutation to a disproportionately high percentage of its offspring. We have built gene drives in the laboratory that can rapidly spread to fixation in a population while at the same introducing deleterious mutations, resulting in complete population crash.
This lecture will focus on the scope for genome editing tools in Anopheles mosquitoes of malaria and some of the successes and challenges going forward with gene drives in this mosquito.
Tony Nolan did his PhD in developing a technology to genetically transform Anopheles mosquitoes using transposable elements. He then did postdoc work on genome defence mechanisms against genomic parasites before joining Imperial College where he spent the last ten years in the Target Malaria research consortium, leading research to develop gene drives for the control of the malarial mosquito. He joined LSTM as a Senior Lecturer in January 2019.