Brazil Breeds Mosquitoes With Suicide Genes To Counter Dengue

The bite from a special type of mosquitoes carrying dengue can prove fatal. The type is found widely in Brazil and the country has now bred custom mosquitoes with a ‘suicide gene’ to tackle the problem.

Dengue mosquitoes

Brazil is due to host the FIFA World Cup 2014 in a matter of six weeks. In other words, huge numbers of people from other parts of the world are gearing up to go to the country. And before the event, Brazil aims to mitigate the threat of dengue.

So the Brazilian authorities have come up with a rather unusual solution which seems something out of a science fiction novel. Brazil has grown a new strain of mosquitoes in the lab. This particular strain is that of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes bred with a flawed gene. The result is that when these mosquitoes fly out into the wild and mate with other mosquitoes, the offsprings are born with the flawed gene and die off.

According to the lab trials so far, authorities confirm that they have witnessed a whopping 90% reduction in the population of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes. However, there are numerous reservations from non-government analysts and experts as to whether or not the solution would work at a larger scale. Some have even cited the possibility that the offsprings of these ‘suicide’ mosquitoes may develop some sort of mutation which may make them even more dangerous rather than eliminating them.

Despite these reservations, Brazil has given the green signal for the mass, commercial use of the modified mosquitoes in an attempt to combat the dengue threat just ahead of the World Cup 2014.

Source: Oxitec

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Salman Latif is a software engineer with a specific interest in social media, big data and real-world solutions using the two.Other than that, he is a bit of a gypsy. He also writes in his own blog. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter .

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