Mosquito-borne pathogens place an enormous burden on human health. The existing toolkit is insufficient to support ongoing vector-control efforts towards meeting disease elimination and eradication goals. The perspective that genetic approaches can potentially add a significant set of tools toward mosquito control is not new, but the recent improvements in site-specific gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9 systems have enhanced our ability to both study mosquito biology using reverse genetics and produce genetics-based tools. Cas9-mediated gene-editing is an efficient and adaptable platform for gene drive strategies, which have advantages over innundative release strategies for introgressing desirable suppression and pathogen-blocking genotypes into wild mosquito populations; until recently, an effective gene drive has been largely out of reach. Many considerations will inform the effective use of new genetic tools, including gene drives. Here we review the lengthy history of genetic advances in mosquito biology and discuss both the impact of efficient site-specific gene editing on vector biology and the resulting potential to deploy new genetic tools for the abatement of mosquito-borne disease.
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