Researchers from Imperial College London recently identified that the malaria parasite uses a specific molecule, the PIMMS43, to evade the mosquito’s immune system, enabling it to infect humans. The discovery can help the development of future vaccines or genetically modified mosquitoes resistant to PIMMS43.

More than 4000 native plants and animals, including the kereru pigeon and the kiwi are at risk of extinction in New Zealand. In 2016, the national government announced the adoption of the programme Predator Free 2050, aiming to reverse biodiversity loss trends in the country. A few years have passed, and many academics and researchers are still sceptical about whether this goal is feasible. The main reason? The programme rejects one of the most promising invasive predator management tools – gene editing.

Increasing interest in African genomics is riding a wave of investment in Nigeria in studying everything from diabetes to cholera.

In the capital Abuja, researchers are refurbishing the National Reference Laboratory to analyse the DNA from 200,000 blood samples in their biobank. In the Southwestern region, a private institution is building a US$3.9 million genomic centre at the Redeemer's University. Nigeria is also about to receive its first for-profit genetics endeavour, called 54Gene, which will focus on chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer.

Written by Heather Sparks, Communications and Outreach Manager at Revive & Restore

Unlike agriculture or medicine, the field of conservation continues to have limited access to innovations in molecular biology and genomics. Yet these innovations have the potential to greatly empower current conservation practice. 

At Revive & Restore, we believe that innovation is necessary to create solutions to the current environmental crisis. Our mission is to enhance biodiversity, and we are pursuing this by bringing biotechnologies to conservation. A major focus of our work is to fund, advocate for, and build a set of biotech-based conservation tools that can support a more biodiverse 21st century, what we call the Genetic Rescue Toolkit.

The Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents Program, or GBIRd, is composed of experts from universities, non-profits, including Island Conservation, and government agencies who came together to study new technologies capable of preventing extinctions. Our partnership’s goal is to create a novel technology in a mouse that can eradicate invasive mice from islands (and eventually other rodents) to protect native island wildlife. This technology would give conservationists a safer, more humane, and flexible tool than methods that are currently available.