Male Mosquitoes Bred to Use Sex to Kill Off Species | Fighting Dengue Fever

GlobeTracker| Dengue fever is a disease that affects 50 million people a year, mostly in Africa and southeast Asia. Two-fifths of the world’s population are at risk, with no vaccine or treatment to treat them, and the 25,000 people who die each year from dengue fever.

French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis has a promising vaccine but it coule takes years before it’s on the market.

In an innovative twist of sexy science British scientists have created genetically sterile mosquitoes, which use sex to kill off others in their species. Releasing 3 million sterilized bugs into a small area of the Caymen Islands cut the total species population by 80 percent.

“We put a segment of DNA into the mosquito which means it will die unless it gets the antidote,” (Luke) Alphey told reporters at a briefing in London on Thursday.

“By giving them tetracycline in the lab, we can keep them alive and breed large numbers of them, but when we release the males into the environment and they mate with wild females, all the offspring inherit a copy of the gene that kills them if they don’t get the antidote…so they die.” via Science Daily