Mosquito Control: Researchers Turn Females into Non-biting Males

July 17, 2020 by No Comments

Good news! Researchers at Virginia Tech have identified a single gene capable of converting a biting female mosquito into a harmless non-biting male mosquito.

Why is this good news? Unfortunately everyone is familiar with mosquito bites and the unpleasant itch that they cause, but mosquitoes are far more dangerous than they are a nuisance. According to a study done by Bill Gates, mosquitoes account for 725,000 human deaths per year. This is a result of the many pathogens that they transmit when they bite us, most dangerous being malaria. Most people may not know that only female mosquitoes bite, thus only the females are capable of transmitting disease to humans. The Virginia Tech researchers hope that they can use the technique to control the population and birth of female mosquitoes in certain populations.

For reference, humans kill 475,000 humans per year, and snakes kill 50,000. In fact, mosquitoes kill more humans per year than any other animal combined. Take a look at this chart.

Source: Virginia Tech Story