Genetically Modified Mosqutio

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Modified Strain of Mosquitoes Takes Flight in Florida to Combat Incursive Variety

New strain of mosquito developed in Florida...learn more...

Tuesday, 18th May 2021

Biotechnology Company Oxitec had placed hexagonal blue and white boxes on six different locations in Florida late last month. Inside, genetically modified mosquito eggs have got activated after water was poured in and they have hatched.

It has been reported that the first larvae have grown into fully developed male mosquitoes that have now taken flight. In each of the subsequent 12 weeks, nearly 12,000 such Oxitec’s genetically modified male mosquitoes- Aedes aegypti breeding on the properties of six volunteers in the area, will fly out of these boxes.

It is believed that over several mosquito generations, they will have the power to considerably bring down the number of disease-spreading female mosquitoes in the region. —and then lower the entire population in the Florida Keys in turn.

According to a University of Southern Mississippi aquatic ecologist Don Yee, the female species bite the human population as nearly half their diet comprise of human blood. The Ae. aegypti females are also carriers of nearly three dozen diseases, including dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya.

Also Read: Hazardous Chemical Pollutants discovered in the disposable face masks!

Such a trial is the first in the country where genetically modified mosquitoes have been released for free-flying and come after the largest outbreak of dengue in the Florida Keys since 2010.

In answer to the concern raised by environmentalists of eradicating a natural species, says the University of California, San Diego molecular biologist Omar Akbari, “Oxitec is not trying to eliminate all mosquitoes. [The company is] getting rid of one mosquito species from a localized population to stop it from transmitting pathogens to humans.”

He adds, “And this mosquito species—A. aegypti—is invasive and doesn’t have a purpose in this environment. So I don’t think there will be any negative environmental impact from removing the species from the environment.”

Male mosquitoes do not bite and only these have been released by Oxitec for the experiment. This variety, with its fuzzy antennae, has the ability to attract the attention of wild female mosquitoes of the same species. Offspring from the mating of these genetically modified male mates with a wild female will inherit the male’s modified DNA.

While female offspring that become dependent on an uncommon antibiotic called tetracycline to live, will be doomed to die as larvae, the male offspring will be a combination of those that can have normal offspring and others that can only have male offspring.

Oxitec’s mosquito trial has received approval after being under consideration for almost 10 years.

The News Talkie Bureau


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