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Genetically modified mosquitoes to control Dengue

Published on 31/10/2011

Male mosquitoes, genetically modified by scientists in the UK, could tackle dengue fever and other insect borne diseases, a new report has revealed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there are around 50 million cases of dengue every year. Dengue is caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito as it bites, and as of yet there is no vaccine for the disease.

In the latest study, the research group, which includes scientists from Imperial College London and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, used genetic engineering to modify male mosquitoes, so that their offspring die before reaching adulthood.

In 2009, the scientists released batches of these genetically modified mosquitoes into an area of the Cayman Islands where Aedes aegypti are common. A proportion of eggs collected from the study area in the following weeks carried the new gene, meaning the sterile mosquitoes had mated successfully.

"We were really surprised how well they did," said Luke Alphey, Oxitec's chief scientific officer and a visiting professor at Oxford University.

Any female wild mosquitoes which mated with the sterile males will have produced no viable offspring. Published in Nature Biotechnology journal, this study is the first to show that the mosquito population could be suppressed using this technique.

The WHO is finalising guidance on how GM insects should be deployed in developing countries, which is expected to be released by the end of 2012.

If access to Specialist Treatment centres, like the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases, is an important factor in your future healthcare, choose a private medical insurance policy with London Hospital coverage.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
Genetically modified mosquitoes to control DengueMale mosquitoes, genetically modified by scientists in the UK, could tackle dengue fever and other insect borne diseases, a new report has    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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