New genetic technology may wipe out mosquitoes permanently

Bill Gates is investing $4 million to wage genetic warfare against the mosquito.

Joe Conlon, technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association, says the reason for the new approach is because our current solutions are losing their effectiveness.

“Our inventory of insecticides is dwindling for a number of reasons: resistance issues, regulatory issues and we’re really looking for, not substitutes but adjuncts to the pesticide use.”

He says scientists have already had limited success with the new technology.

“The mosquito aedes aegypti – the one that transmits Zika virus, chikungunya and dengue – and it’s been done in Central and South America and in the Caribbean. So it’s a successful technology with that particular species of mosquito.”

The process works by injecting male mosquitoes with a self-limiting gene that gets passed onto female mates.  When the females give birth, their offspring will die before adulthood. So it could possibly wipe mosquitoes off the face of the earth – forever.

Joe Conlon was a guest on McIntyre in the Morning.

By Sandy Wells

KABC News

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