My name is Craig Montell and I'm
a Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The advent of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in
active genetics offers the possibility to reduce human suffering.
Today, I'd like to present approaches and ideas using
this technology to control the most dangerous animal on our planet.
Some people think that sharks are the most dangerous animal but they
caused an average of only 10 deaths per year worldwide.
Only about a hundred deaths occur per year from lions.
Snakes are a much bigger problem causing about 50 to 100,000 deaths per year.
People are the second most dangerous animal in the world.
Mosquitoes, however, are the most dangerous animals of all.
The mosquitoes known as Anopheles gambiae and
Aedes aegypti spread diseases such as malaria,
dengue, zika, yellow fever and others that
together caused more than 1 million deaths worldwide.
Each year, there are about 500 million cases
of malaria and about 400 million infections from dengue.
Half the world's population is at risk for getting these diseases caused by
the Plasmodium parasite or flaviviruses that are spread by these mosquitoes.
The most troubling fact about
dengue and other arbovirus diseases spread by Aedes aegypti is that they're on the rise.
Dengue has increased 30-fold since 1960,
and then is now in states such as Florida and Texas.
Due to the spiraling increases and because Aedes is such an invasive insect species,
it's difficult and critical to develop
new and safer approaches to suppress Aedes aegypti.
The main modes of control of mosquitoes are decades old.