For those that missed it, read here.
So in the last post, I talked about how Brazil released thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes in Rio to try and control dengue fever.
The mosquitoes have been artificially infected by Oxitec with a bacteria that suppresses dengue fever. Oxitec has dubbed the GM mosquito OX513A. They have a genetically engineered disability to reach sexual maturity, preventing them from reproducing.
Wait. How does that help then?
It does. The mosquitoes have been engineered with two additional genes. The males (which cannot bite and thus cannot cause malaria or dengue fever) are released into the wild to seek out and mate with wild, non-genetically engineered females.
Their offspring will inherit the genetically engineered genes, and will die before becoming functional adults with the ability to infect human beings with deadly diseases.
For the fun meta stuff, keep reading.
How will the researchers monitor the progress of this experiment?
Simple. The genetically engineered mosquitoes also have a distinct trait of being visible under a special light, which makes monitoring them in a field smile and helps in ensuring that the experiment succeeds.
More good news: Oxitec is collaborating with Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading Limited (GBIT), an Indian firm that will develop and produce similar technology in India.
While opponents of genetic engineering worry about their food labels, we have people out there in the industry that are literally saving millions of lives.
Now we only wait until this technology makes its way to Africa.