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Trop Med Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 15;3(3). pii: E86. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed3030086.

Treading the Path towards Genetic Control of Snail Resistance to Schistosome Infection.

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1
Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, Surulere, Lagos 100254, Nigeria. damfam.joe@gmail.com.

Abstract

Schistosomiasis remains the most important tropical snail-borne trematodiasis that threatens many millions of human lives. In achieving schistosomiasis elimination targets, sustainable control of the snail vectors represents a logical approach. Nonetheless, the ineffectiveness of the present snail control interventions emphasizes the need to develop new complementary strategies to ensure more effective control outcomes. Accordingly, the use of genetic techniques aimed at driving resistance traits into natural vector populations has been put forward as a promising tool for integrated snail control. Leveraging the Biomphalaria-Schistosoma model system, studies unraveling the complexities of the vector biology and those exploring the molecular basis of snail resistance to schistosome infection have been expanding in various breadths, generating many significant discoveries, and raising the hope for future breakthroughs. This review provides a compendium of relevant findings, and without neglecting the current existing gaps and potential future challenges, discusses how a transgenic snail approach may be adapted and harnessed to control human schistosomiasis.

KEYWORDS:

gene drive; schistosomiasis; snail resistance; transgenic snail; vector control

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