Anopheles funestus rearing and gene flow...

In the News

Study establishes link between gender, extramarital affairs and HIV

Dar es Salaam. A new Ifakara Health Institute study has found “a significant association between lifetime (proxy) extramarital affairs and HIV infection among women only,” with the risk being significantly …

IHI names winners of research, innovation fund

[Right-Left] Getrud, Beatrice, Theckla, and Tutu.Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) has named recipients of the 2017/18 Director’s Research and Innovation Fund. This is an internal funding mechanism aimed to support specific …

Recent Projects

Development of a new tool for malaria mosquito surveillance to improve vector control

Malaria transmission is influenced not only by vector abundance, but as well by demographic traits such as vector species and age structure, as these influence the intensity by which the …

Demonstrating complete disruption of residual malaria transmission by eliminating Anopheles funestus mosquitoes from rural Tanzanian villages

In rural south-eastern Tanzania, where malaria prevalence has reduced by >60% since 2000, low-to-moderate transmission still persists despite very high coverage with long-lasting insecticidal bednets. Like in most residual transmission …

Existing malaria vector control methods, notably, long-lasting insecticide treated nets and indoor residual spraying have effectively controlled An. gambiae sensu stricto, which was historically, the most dominant malaria vector in Africa. In many areas, particularly in East and Southern Africa, An. funestus is now established as a dominant vector mediating significant proportions of persisting malaria transmission. Evidence from Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique suggest high levels of insecticide resistance in An. funestus, indicating an even more complex challenge for current malaria control methods, which are mostly insecticide based. While most efforts have traditionally focused on An. gambiae and An. arabiensis, the An. funestus group remains largely neglected despite its traditionally high competence, and its rising role in residual transmission. Part of the neglect of An. funestus is because this vector is notoriously difficult to colonize in laboratories, and often has obscure aquatic habitats. In addition, unlike the An. gambiae complex, the population structure of An. funestus is not yet resolved, as there are still multiple uncertainties regarding levels of genetic diversity and gene flow between populations.

Compared to other interventions, the use of genetic manipulation offers new opportunities for high impact, well organized and large-scale malaria control against dominant malaria vectors. Current gene drive efforts for mosquito control are primarily targeting An. gambiae, with the assumption that resultant genetic constructs can be easily introgressed in related sibling species of the An. gambiae complex, such as An. arabiensis and An. coluzzii. However, effective malaria elimination will require also aggressive efforts against An. funestus, which is increasingly the dominant malaria vector in east and southern Africa, including the Elimination Eight (E8) countries. Assuming successful development of gene-drive constructs for An. funestus, current limitations in our ability to colonize and mass produce this species, as well as poor understanding of its genetic structure and ecology, will hinder applications of gene drive related control approaches.

This project is to investigate the key biological features, including genetic diversity, reproductive barriers and genetic flow patterns among members of the An. funestus group, focusing primarily on An. funestus s.s. We will also develop processes for successful colonization and mass-rearing of An. funestus. In line with on going efforts to develop effective gene-drive strategies for malaria elimination, our project will be support development and potential deployment of future transgenes for An. funestus population suppression or modification. Working in a team of experts from different institutions, we will consolidate our complementary expertise in ecology, molecular genetics, mathematical modelling and medical entomology to fill current gaps, thereby dramatically improving our understanding of An. funestus. Our findings are primarily aimed at supporting high-impact interventions, including future use of “gene-drives”, for suppression or


University of Glasgow
Keele University, Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology
University of the Witwatersrand, SA
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
pp-relation 3956


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Projects Location

© Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), 2016