Alleviating Human and Animal African Sleeping Sickness
Paul Dyson of Swansea University in the United Kingdom will work to control the incidence of sleeping sickness in humans, which is caused by the Trypanosome parasite transmitted by tsetse flies, by genetically modifying a fly gut bacterium to deliver double-stranded (ds) RNAs to block two important parasite proteins. Trypanosomes mature in the flies, thereby gaining the capacity to infect mammals. He will engineer the bacteria and introduce them into tsetse flies, then test the capacity of the dsRNAs to inhibit their target proteins in trypanosomes. This approach could lead to long-term control of this disease as the bacteria are maternally transmitted to the offspring.