“Both Windbichler and Alphey are working on genetic modification of mosquitoes to prevent them spreading disease. “The idea is to breed huge numbers of male mosquitoes that carry lethal genes,” says Alphey. They then fly out into the world, and breed with females, and their offspring would be born with a copy of this gene which would kill them in the egg. A similar method, using irradiation to sterilise the males, has been successful in various species – “it’s eliminated the screwworm fly on a continental scale”, says Windbichler. There are industrial-scale breeding programmes in Guatemala that produce two tons of irradiated flies, about two billion of them, each week. GM is hoped to be even more effective, because the flies produced won’t be weakened by radiation and so should be more able to find mates.” The war against mosquitoes (Telegraph)


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