Mosquitoes That Are Genetically-Engineered to Self Destruct (To Prevent Disease) Are in the Air

MosquitoBijal P. Trivedi writes in Scientific American:

A new breed of genetically modified mosquitoes carries a gene that cripples its own offspring. They could crush native mosquito populations and block the spread of disease. And they are already in the air — though that’s been a secret.

Outside Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico — 10 miles from Guatemala. To reach the cages, we follow the main highway out of town, driving past soy, cocoa, banana and lustrous dark-green mango plantations thriving in the rich volcanic soil. Past the tiny village of Rio Florido the road degenerates into an undulating dirt tract. We bump along on waves of baked mud until we reach a security checkpoint, guard at the ready. A sign posted on the barbed wire–enclosed compound pictures a mosquito flanked by a man and woman: Estos mosquitos genéticamente modificados requieren un manejo especial, it reads. We play by the rules.

Inside, cashew trees frame a cluster of gauzy mesh cages perched on a platform. The cages hold thousands of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the local species, smaller and quieter than the typical buzzing specimens found in the U.S. At 7 a.m., the scene looks ethereal: rays of sunlight filter through layers of mesh creating a glowing, yellow hue. Inside the cages, however, genetically modified mosquitoes are waging a death match against the locals, an attempted genocide-by-mating that has the potential to wipe out dengue fever, one of the world’s most troublesome, aggressive diseases.

More: Scientific American

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  • STATIC1985

    good i hate those little bastards…. Do they serve any purpose in life?

  • STATIC1985

    good i hate those little bastards…. Do they serve any purpose in life?

    • Anarchy Pony

      Life isn’t about serving a purpose.

    • Stormcrow

      Survive and reproduce repeat ad infinatum. as with all life.

  • Anti-Citizen1

    Life isn’t about serving a purpose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000047831952 Kecia Grace Baldwin

    No telling what kind of effect this will have on the ecosystem. We are so doomed. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000047831952 Kecia Grace Baldwin

    No telling what kind of effect this will have on the ecosystem. We are so doomed. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000047831952 Kecia Grace Baldwin

    No telling what kind of effect this will have on the ecosystem. We are so doomed. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000047831952 Kecia Grace Baldwin

    No telling what kind of effect this will have on the ecosystem. We are so doomed. 

    • ishmael2009

      Always good to hear from someone with a positive outlook who has something constructive to add, Kecia.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Yes because we all know how positive outlooks and boundless optimism have served us all so far. Oh that’s right, straight into a giant hole full of artificially induced extinctions, habitat destruction, atmospheric and water pollution, unsustainable forms of commerce, agriculture and population growth and a whole plethora of other debacles. But hey, them wizbang techno science geniuses will cook up something lickety-split to save us all from the problems caused by our previous techno wizbang solutions.

  • Stormcrow

    Survive and reproduce repeat ad infinatum. as with all life.

  • Anonymous

    Always good to hear from someone with a positive outlook who has something constructive to add, Kecia.

  • Anonymous

    Genetically modified mosquitoes? Let’s hear from the “stock up on tinned food in the mountains” brigade. Come on guys, what are you plans for surviving the coming apocalypse?

  • ishmael2009

    Genetically modified mosquitoes? Let’s hear from the “stock up on tinned food in the mountains” brigade. Come on guys, what are you plans for surviving the coming apocalypse?

  • http://smouch.net/lol Anon

    and the zombie apocalypse is well on its way

  • http://smouch.net/lol Anon

    and the zombie apocalypse is well on its way

  • Anti-Citizen1

    Yes because we all know how positive outlooks and boundless optimism have served us all so far. Oh that’s right, straight into a giant hole full of artificially induced extinctions, habitat destruction, atmospheric and water pollution, unsustainable forms of commerce, agriculture and population growth and a whole plethora of other debacles. But hey, them wizbang techno science geniuses will cook up something lickety-split to save us all from the problems caused by our previous techno wizbang solutions.

  • tony

    Genetically-Engineered to Self Destruct? Maybe they should be called al qaida mosquitoes.  The land in a pond full of normal, everyday mosquitoes and then blow themselves up. lol.

  • tony

    Genetically-Engineered to Self Destruct? Maybe they should be called al qaida mosquitoes.  The land in a pond full of normal, everyday mosquitoes and then blow themselves up. lol.

  • tony

    Genetically-Engineered to Self Destruct? Maybe they should be called al qaida mosquitoes.  The land in a pond full of normal, everyday mosquitoes and then blow themselves up. lol.