Genetically altered mosquito could be our best weapon against them

I know we all hate those little buzz bombs from hell, commonly referred to as ‘the mosquito’ but I’m betting that most of you didn’t realize that this little insect is responsible for more human death over our history on this planet than any other cause. The estimate puts the number of deaths at around the 46 billion mark.

The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (A. aegypti) family of mosquitoes itself is probably responsible for infecting 50 to 100 million people worldwide per year with deadly diseases like dengue fever. It is because of this that mosquitoes have found themselves the target of our wrath however the only problem is that whenever we come up with some chemical based weapon it might work for a short while but the mosquitoes build up resistance and come back twice as strong as before.

Since this method of attack will always have limited success scientists have been trying to find other ways to destroy these bloodsucking insects. It is the research of American scientist Anthony James, from UC Irvice, that is getting a lot of attention because rather than going down the chemical road he has elected to go down the genetics path.

James has shown that he can literally decimated mosquito populations by introducing his genetically modified mosquito and in very short order. What happens is that the modified genes only effect the female mosquito making them flightless. So when the larvae hatch on the water the females are unable to leave which makes them harmless to humans as well as leaving them to die. The males on the other hand mature as normal and can fly off to mate with other females thus spreading the genetic mutation on.

via GizMag