Vector Control: Ruining the mosquito’s sex life may pay. Article in today’s Financial Times

October 11, 2012

By Clive Cookson

Genetic modification could be a powerful weapon against the mosquitoes that transmit dengue.  Field trials, involving the release of millions of sterile GM mosquitoes, have given encouraging results in Brazil, Malaysia and Grand Cayman island.

Oxitec, an Oxford university spin-out company, developed the technology. A “dominant lethal gene” inserted into the Aedes aegypti mosquito enables males to fertilise females – but their larvae die before hatching.

If huge numbers of sterile males are released – at least 10 times more than the wild population – they swamp the native males and mate with all available females, which fail to produce viable offspring.

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