A group of researchers identified the responsible gene for the determination of male sex in the Mediterranean fruit fly or Medfly, a global and highly destructive fruit pest. Flies of each sex were transformed into the other sex by genetic manipulation. Afterward, crosses of transformed flies were able to generate male and female progeny. According to scientists, the research has great potential to help develop more effective strategies and genetic tools to control agricultural pests, including gene drive approaches.

Torpout Nyarikjor, an engineering student at Dilla University in southern Ethiopia, invented an instant malaria detector after having lost his brother for malaria. His discovery blood checks for malaria instantly, enabling the early treatment of the disease and increasing the likelihood of survival.

The detector, which won a regional innovation competition, is about 70% accurate now. However, investors are already willing to back the young student and make the invention foolproof.

This week, The Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication published its report Malaria Eradication within a Generation: Ambitious, Achievable, and Necessary, which argues that it is still possible to eradicate malaria by 2050. The publication stresses the need for innovative tools to accelerate the fight against the disease, complementing the tools currently available. The report launch event, called Malaria Eradication Within a Generation, will be on September 12, in London. You can register for it here. The event will also be available for live stream from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm (BST).

You can learn more about the report at Reuters or download it at The Lancet’s website.

Scientists from Brown University (US) demonstrated that clothes lined with graphene-oxide (GO) could protect users from mosquito bites. According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), GO blocks chemical signals in human sweat that mosquitoes use to sense the proximity of blood. Tests on volunteers proved that the ultra-thin material is strong enough to work as a physical barrier and mosquitoes cannot bite through when the material is dry. Scientists are now studying a way of stabilizing GO so the material can also be resistant when wet.

Synthetic biology potentially offers solutions to some of our most intractable environmental problems, such as air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, or even to reduce the effect of climate change on food production. A new article from the Earth Institute at Columbia University explores several synbio technologies in place or under research, including the use of gene drive for environmental conservation purposes.