I noticed a really interesting article in today’s Metro on page 29, wherein they mention that ‘sperm-free’ mosquitoes have been released in bid to end malaria.
The article goes on to say “Spermless mosquitoes have been released into the wild for the first time in a bid to combat diseases like malaria and dengue”.
It could pave the way to reducing populations of the insect by making sterile males compete for mates with their wild counterparts, scientists hope.
The genetically-engineered bugs’ mating success was more than half as good as their fertile rivals – making the study ‘a promising approach’ to controlling mosquito-borne infectious diseases, say researchers.
About 20,000 sterile males were let loose across a 10ha (25-acre) area of Grand Cayman island in the Caribbean over a month by a team led by professor Luke Alphey of the University of Oxford.
They used a species known as aedes aegypti, which are the main carriers of dengue, which infects up to 100million people across the world each year and can be fatal, causing fever, muscle pain, headache and a rash.
The strain, which also helps in the study of malaria, was altered so that it would die without a dietary substance given to them in the lab but not found in the wild.
The researchers, publishing online in Nature Biotechnology, said the study now needs to be repeated in different locations and with other species.
to read the article for yourself – click here.
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