50 years back, researchers were genetically customizing mosquitoes

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Sterility gene for mosquito control Science News, December 18, 1971

Scientists are striving to discover a replacement for DDT in the control of malaria vector mosquitoes … Two explores mosquitoes reproducing in old tires in New Delhi indicate a response: a gene for sterility that would be passed to offspring.


Today, researchers are evaluating a range of pesticide-free methods to manage mosquito populations that spread out malaria, Zika, dengue and yellow fever. One technique includes contaminating male bloodsuckers with a pressure of Wolbachia germs ( SN: 6/10/17, p. 10). When the contaminated males mate with women, their offspring pass away prior to hatching. Another technique fine-tunes mosquito DNA so that males hand down a daughter-killing characteristic and all female offspring pass away, diminishing populations in time. The mosquitoes, reproduced by the England-based biotech business Oxitec, took their very first U.S. flight in May following a years-long dispute about the security of such organisms.

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