Monday, November 28, 2011

Genetics and Insects

According to Andrew Pollock at the New York Times new advancements in genetically modified insects, specifically mosquitoes have burst on to the scientific scene. Oxitec, a company founded by Dr. Luke Alphy has recently released Aedes aegypti mosquitoes into parts of Brazil, Malaysia and the Grand Cayman Islands in hopes of suppressing disease carrying populations. The species is the main transmitter of the dengue and yellow fever viruses and was modified with a gene that will kill them unless they are given tetracycline, a common antibiotic. The premise is to treat modified mosquitoes with antibiotics until they have produced enough progeny to be released into the natural populations. Afterwards, while in the wild, antibiotics will be unavailable to them or their offspring; this creates a generation unable to survive and significantly lowers the natural population.

1 comment:

  1. This would be an amazing thing because it would be a big improvement from mass-spraying of chemicals to control mosquito populations!