The introduction of genetically modified mosquitoes greatly reduces their population according to a study carried out in Florida

A biotechnology company has delivered the first positive results of introducing genetically modified mosquitoes outdoors to reduce the population.

Five million genetically modified mosquitoes have been introduced in seven months in a tropical area in southern Florida by the company Oxitec, which has communicated the first results of its study.

Study which aims to reduce the population of wild mosquitoes likely to transmit viruses such as chikungunya, dengue, Zika and yellow fever.

Et the first results are very positive since genetically modified mosquitoes seem to be doing their job. The company Oxitec has thus introduced male mosquitoes containing a lethal gene for the female offspring, knowing that only the latter bite.

The females targeted

The larvae are thus not resistant and the mosquitoes thus reproduced never reach adulthood, lacking the proteins necessary to develop. With each generation that mates, the mosquito population decreases.

The genetically modified mosquitoes are Aedes aegypti which do not represent the majority of mosquitoes which can transmit diseases but the lessons of their introduction into the open air could be applied to other types.

Thus, Oxitec announces that other larger studies could be carried out in order to determine whether this genetic modification, which does not aim to eradicate mosquitoes but to control the population and therefore the nuisances, could apply to mosquitoes. tigers for example.

A method that would preserve the environment

The method also has the advantage of preserving the environment because it limits the population of mosquitoes without drying out wetlands, without using harmful insecticides and preserving the balance of the food chain, bats being fond of these insects.

Florida was not chosen at random for this study since the Archipelago of the Keys where it was conducted was hit by a dengue fever epidemic in 2010, with 68 locally transmitted cases, and again in 2020, with 72 cases. transmitted locally.

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