Sunday, October 16, 2005

Mosquito studs help in eradicating Malaria

A bunch of scientists in London has developed a novel way of eradicating mosquitoes in malaria-hit areas.

Led by Andrea Crisanti, the team added a gene that makes the testicles of the male mosquitoes fluorescent, allowing the scientists to distinguish and easily separate them from females. The plan is to breed, sterilize and release millions of these male insects so they mate with wild females but produce no offspring, eradicating insects in the target region within weeks.

What an idea! Using sterile mosquitoes to breed with females so that the population decreases! I wonder though, if these will be like super-stud-mosquitoes, with whom normal mosquitoes cannot compete for the attention of the ladies. The article mentions making their testicles flourescent. Does that arouse mosquito females?

(Note: I read this srticle in the ToI originally. However, as I couldn't find an online version, I've linked to the Taipei Times article instead.)

Update: It apperars that this technique has been used before.

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