Adventure

Modified Mosquitoes Fight Dengue Fever

Gene kills offspring before adulthood

Scientists in Brazil reported last week that a strain of genetically modified mosquitoes may be helping to kill the species that carries dengue fever. Scientists unloosed more than ten million modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes in the city of Juazeiro last year. The altered bugs carry a gene that kills their offspring before reaching adulthood. "From samples collected in the field, 85 percent of the eggs were transgenic, which means that the males released are overriding the wild population," Aldo Malavasi, the project's coordinator, said. Malavasi noted that dwindling Aedes populations will take time to translate to lower dengue transmission rates. Environmental advocates have expressed concern about the long-term consequences of the project, smaller versions of which are also underway in Malaysia and the Caymen Islands.

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