Simple genetic modification aims to stop mosquitoes spreading malaria Altering a mosquito’s gut genes to make them spread antimalarial genes to the next generation of their species shows promise for curbing malaria. This is the finding of a preliminary study by researchers from Imperial College London and published today in eLife. Malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which certain species of mosquito carry in their guts. The team genetically modified Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes so that after they have taken a blood meal, they express small antimicrobial molecules that target and impair the development of the Plasmodium parasite. They initially inserted the gene along with a fluorescent marker to help them track it in three different spots in the DNA, and then later removed the marker, leaving only a minor genetic modification behind. Next, the team bred the mosquitoes to see if they were able to successfully reproduce and remain healthy. They also tested how well the malaria parasite developed in the mosquitoes’ guts. Their experiments provide preliminary evidence that this approach to genetic modifications could create successful gene drives. .