Genetically modified mosquitoes used to fight native mosquitoes in order to prevent future outbreaks of STI’s – These genetically modified mosquitoes would be so appealing to the regular male mosquitoes that they would choose to mate with the GMO Mosquitoes over their native female mosquitoes, because they where so irresistible. Roughly 800,000 genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are being released per week in the Brazilian city of Piracicaba to combat that insect, a transmitter of the dengue and zika viruses that has confounded health authorities in Brazil and other Latin American countries. – RESULTS PUBLISHED IN JULY 2015, pilot study CONDUCTED BEFOREHAND. The creation of British biotechnology company Oxitec, this mosquito was genetically modified in 2002 to reduce dengue cases. The study in the Itaberaba neighborhood of Juazeiro city in Bahia State, Brazil was led by University of SÃ£o Paulo and Moscamed, a social company leading in environmentally friendly pest control. The treatment area included a population of approximately 1800 people. Oxitec – The next step is to scale up to even larger studies and run mosquito control projects on an operational basis. This method of control is species-specific “ the Oxitec male mosquitoes are released to mate with the pest females and their offspring die because of a self-limiting gene before they can reproduce and before they can become transmitters of disease.
- Generic symptoms – offsprings die because of a self limiting gene – linked to smaller brain growth in humans? self limiting growth – cannot reproduce
This invasive mosquito and the diseases it carries is a real challenge. Aedes aegypti is developing resistance to insecticides and even when we remove breeding sites they continue to reproduce and transmit diseases because they live in areas that are difficult to treat. This is why we need new tools. We knew that the Oxitec mosquito was a promising tool, so we wanted to independently evaluate its effectiveness here in Brazil, said Professor Margareth Capurro of S Paulo University. Dengue, chikungunya and zika virus are debilitating diseases spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Aedes aegypti is the primary vector and hence the priority for control. There is currently no vaccine or specific medication for these diseases. According to the WHO, the only way to combat dengue at present is to control the mosquitoes that spread the disease.
Mosquitoes are some of the most deadly creatures on the planet. They carry viruses, bacteria and parasites, which they transmit through bites, infecting some 700 million people and killing more than 1 million each year.
Genetically modifying mosquitoes to prevent disease may sound like science fiction, but the technology has advanced in recent years to the point where this is no longer a scenario relegated to late-night movies. In fact, it’s not even a new idea; scientists were talking about modifying insect populations to control diseases as early as the 1940s. Today, genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes, developed during the past several decades of research in university laboratories, are being used to combat mosquito-borne pathogens – including viruses such as dengue and Zika – in many locations around the globe, including the United States. Progress is also being made to use GM mosquitoes to combat malaria, the most devastating mosquito-borne disease, although field releases for malaria control have not yet taken place.