EPA Approves 'Killer' Mosquitoes to Combat Disease

Style Magazine Newswire | 11/10/2017, 1:12 p.m.
The federal government has approved a new bio-engineered "assassin mosquito" that could help diminish the wild mosquito populations that carry ...
natural bacterium Wolbachia pipientis that is said to be a new bio-engineered "assassin mosquito" /USNews

Source: USNews.com

The federal government has approved a new bio-engineered "assassin mosquito" that could help diminish the wild mosquito populations that carry infectious diseases like Zika, Dengue fever and yellow fever by targeting reproduction, according to a recent report in the science journal Nature. MoqutioMate, a biotechnology startup based in Lexington, Ky., infects male mosquitoes with the common, natural bacterium Wolbachia pipientis that specifically targets the reproduction of mosquitoes but does not harm animals, humans or other insects, according to thecompany's website. The hope is that these infected mosquitoes will diminish wild Asian tiger mosquito populations, which are prone to carry infectious diseases. The lab-grown Asian tiger male mosquitoes, which don't bite, will be released into wild mosquito populations to mate with Asian tiger mosquito females, according to MosquitoMate. Their fertilized eggs won't hatch, though, as the bacterium in the infected males keeps paternal chromosomes from fully forming, stopping population growth.