Dr. Rebeca Carballar-Lejarazú, University of California Irvine Malaria Initiative (UCIMI) and University of California Irvine

Every year on August 20, we commemorate World Mosquito Day. Mosquitoes, these tiny blood-sucking insects, are the chief culprit in causing serious diseases such as malaria. Malaria is an ancient disease that has plagued people since the emergence of modern agriculture and civilization, and still poses a fatal threat to people all over the world. Some of the earliest written records of human diseases from Mesopotamia, India and China describe fever cycles that are recognizably malaria, and parasite DNA was recovered from human remains dating to the 5th century AD during the waning Roman Empire in Europe.

Scientists have successfully carried out studies in large cages mimicking natural conditions, demonstrating that gene drive can control malaria mosquito populations in laboratory settings. The outcomes of the research were recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

Aaron Roberts, McMaster University’s Institute on Ethics & Policy for Innovation (IEPI)

Through a collaboration between FNIH GeneConvene Global Collaborative and McMaster University’s Institute on Ethics & Policy for Innovation (IEPI), the Gene Drive Research Forum has developed a series of five panel discussions titled “Unsettled Ethical Issues in Gene Drive Research”. Participation is open to all!

Penny Becker, Regional Executive Director, Island Conservation

World Nature Conservation Day is celebrated every year on July 28. The date is a reminder of the value of conservation for people and wildlife alike. Nowhere is this connection more apparent than on islands, which are home to a wide array of animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth, and 10% of the global human population. Many island communities understand the essential role of nature and have seen first-hand the destruction of species, ecosystems, human livelihoods, and community wellbeing, and are taking steps to preserve biodiversity for today and into the future.

Islands are not always the pristine oasis we imagine; they often experience severe environmental destruction caused by introduced, invasive species—the primary cause of island extinctions, and a driver of our global extinction crisis. For decades, Island Conservation has focused on this intersection, removing invasive species from islands with remarkable results, bringing endangered wildlife back from the brink of extinction, reviving vegetation and habitat, and reclaiming vital resources for island communities.

On July 22, the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research in partnership with ISAAA’s SEAsia Center will host the fourth session of the Gene Drive Webinar Series. Register here!