( CNN) University of California-Irvine microbiologist Anthony James says he’s “ve called the” “silverback” — the wise old man in the gorilla kingdom — of gene drive researchers, because he’s spent 30 years trying to find a way to genetically engineer an objective to malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne cancers.
“I started my research program in 1986. And it’s hard to convey that to people today, but no genes had been found in mosquitoes, much less the ability to splice, so it was starting from nothing. So I guess that’s why they say I’m the silverback. I started working on it a long time ago and never gave up.”