Genetic Engineering : Eradicate Humanity 's Deadliest Predator

1701 Words Oct 17th, 2016 7 Pages
We now possess the technology to utilise genetic engineering to eradicate humanity’s deadliest predator. Malaria was responsible for infecting over 200 million people, whilst causing 438 000 deaths in 2015 alone, (World Health Organisation 2016) and is responsible for over a thousand deaths every day, being possibly the single biggest killer of humans in history.

Malaria is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito infected with Plasmodium Parasites. There are many Malaria parasites but the major ones that infect humans are P. Malariae, P. Ovale, P. Falciparum and P. Vivax. (Mueller et al., 2007) The female mosquito feeds on a human, injecting Sporozoites into the blood which then enter hepatocytes. The Sporozoites reproduce asexually producing thousands of Merozoites. The Merozoites leave the hepatocytes and infect red blood cells. New, infective Merozoites are produced, at which point the red blood cell bursts and the cycle continues. (Schlagenhauf-Lawlor, 2008)

There Is currently no vaccine for Malaria and the main treatment is through the use Artemisinin derivatives along with anti-Malarial drugs. (Kokwaro 2009) In 2012 however, a new technology called CRISPR-CAS9 (CRISPR Associated Protein 9) received attention. Virginijus Šikšnys, G. Gašiūnas, R. Barrangou, and P. Horvath showed that Cas9, an RNA-guided DNA endonuclease enzyme that is used to cleave and insert foreign DNA to a subject (Jinek et al., 2012), could be controlled to any site of…

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