Scientists from Texas A&M University are developing a new technology for modifying mosquito genes that self-deletes genetic alterations from the insect’s genome after a specific time or a certain number of mosquito generations.

By creating a transgene capable of removing itself, the gene will not persist in the environment, contributing to the safety of field tests and risk assessment of novel tools to control malaria and other vector-borne diseases, says Professor Zack Edelman, one of the principal investigators.

The research’s first results are available at Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, where scientists describe different methods to self-delete genetic alteration, including taking advantage of a process to repair damaged DNA naturally occurring in animals.