JAMMU, 15th January: A national level workshop was organized under the leadership of Dr. JP Sharma, Vice Chancellor SKUAST-Jammu in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
The workshop was led by Dr. Anees Yadav, National ICAR Professor under the SERB program.
In an invited lecture on genetically modified mosquitoes, Dr. RK Gupta, Professor and Head of Entomology, said that insect-borne diseases cause significant economic losses in countries where they are endemic and that approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting insect-borne diseases. .
“These vector-borne diseases account for over 17% of all infectious diseases, causing over 700,000 deaths per year. They can be caused by parasites, bacteria or viruses,” he said and revealed that there are around 219 million cases of malaria worldwide, resulting in over 400,000 deaths every year.
Since there is currently no vaccine and current conventional disease control programs have failed to manage them effectively, these have continued to spread and reappear. However, genetically modified (GM) insects that are produced by inserting new genes into their genome have great potential. Dr. RK Gupta pointed out that this innovative approach is based on self-limiting population suppression mechanisms that include the sterile insect technique and the release of insect carriers of dominant lethality (RIDL). This RIDL technique involves genetic enhancement of SIT whereby a lethal gene is inserted into insects using transgenic technology, a non-toxic lethal protein (tTAV) that allows larval development but prevents offspring of RIDL insects to reach adulthood. When they mate with wild insects, the lethal gene is passed on to offspring, causing them to die.
Dr. Gupta reported that recent field trials based on the Oxitech RIDL technique gene are underway in Florida, the Cayman Islands and Brazil and a suppression level of approximately 95% has been achieved so far. now. The use of genetically modified mosquitoes therefore holds great potential to eradicate vector-borne diseases all over the world in the future, he said.