Scientists from the University of California Irvine, San Diego and Berkeley developed a gene drive system that is able to address the accumulation of drive-resistant mosquitoes – a challenge observed on the team’s original gene drive.

They solved the issue by equipping the gene drive with a functional copy of the target gene into which the drive is inserted. In the previous gene drive system, the gene drive was transmitted to about 99% of progeny when the parent in which the gene drive was inserted was a male but only 60-70% of offspring when the parent in which the gene drive was inserted was a female. In principle, the female could still transmit parasites.

According to researchers, this second generation of gene drive system can be applied to any of the genes that are essential for insects to survive or reproduce. The study is available at the journal Nature Communications.