Scientists at the University of California, San Diego modified the fruit fly genome using CRISPR-based technologies to create eight reproductively isolated species.
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego and their colleagues have developed synthetic fly species that can only spread locally.
Scientists have named their development SPECIES (synthetic post-zygotic barriers using CRISPR-based incompatibilities for engineered species). It can be used for other species, such as disease-carrying insects, according to the authors. The proliferation of genes that limit pests that feed on valuable food crops is another example of the potential use of SPECIES.
For example, a new species of malaria mosquito could be created that is not capable of transmitting malaria and also does not transmit malaria through contact with other mosquitoes.
The new development offers a way to control populations in a very safe and reversible way.
Omar Akbari, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego and Senior Article Writer
The idea behind the creation of SPECIES encourages the formation of new species in nature. Since members of the same species can separate from each other due to different factors, eventually a new species can form due to this process.
However, if its representative mates with someone from the original group, non-viable offspring may grow. This is due to the biological changes that followed reproductive isolation.