How Genetically Modified Mosquitos May Transform Mosquito Control

For many governments and populations, mosquito control is of paramount importance. Not only can mosquitoes drastically reduce the quality of life, but mosquitoes also harbor many deadly diseases. If you're involved in mosquito control operations and pest control, it's important to understand how new advances in genetics are offering the possibility to help drastically reduce mosquito populations and how this might impact the industry.

Research Behind Genetically-Modified Mosquitoes

A research team from the University of California has found a way to insert genetic material into mosquitoes that effectively blocks the parasite that spreads malaria in mosquitoes.

The team then bred the mosquito and found that virtually all of the mosquito's descendants carried this special genetic profile that prevented the spread of malaria. The research team predicted that if the mosquito breed was released into the general population and bred with regular mosquitoes, then within just months there would be an entire population of mosquitoes that were unable to give humans malaria. 

Considering that malaria is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, this new breakthrough has the potential to save a lot of human lives.

Taking on Dengue Fever

Malaria is not the only deadly disease that mosquitoes harbor. Dengue fever is known to be excruciatingly painful and extremely resistant to treatment. While not overly common in the United States, rising global temperatures could lead to the rapid spread to this disease around the world. However, what if a genetically-modified mosquito transmitted a gene that actually killed mosquito offspring?

A British company engineered a male mosquito that if it mates with a female mosquito, will kill the offspring before the offspring has a chance to reproduce or carry the dengue fever. This led to the reduction of disease-carrying mosquito populations in targeted areas by up to 95 percent in some cases. Although these tests were primarily performed to reduce dengue fever, these same genetically modified mosquitoes could be introduced in other places as well.

In the United States, there is a current debate about releasing these genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida. There are still regulatory hurdles in many countries, and the overall impact of genetically-modified mosquitoes is still a concern, especially in regards to environmental concerns and the potential impact of new forms of DNA being introduced into the environment. 

In the pest control industry, it's important to follow these developments if you want to understand what the future of pest control will be. Ultimately, genetically modified mosquito programs have been extremely effective in many countries, which has led many countries to adopt this mosquito control method. Time will only tell if these mosquito control strategies become standard practice.

For more information, contact Bug Busters Inc or a similar company.


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