The US Environmental Protection Agency has given its approval for MosquitoMate, a Kentucky-based biotechnology company, to release its bacteria-infected male mosquitoes in several parts of the United States. When the bacteria-carrying males mate with wild females, their eggs don't hatch, because Wolbachia prevents the paternal chromosome from forming properly. By releasing them into the wild, they can spread bacteria to the wild population of Aedes albopictus or Asian tiger mosquitoes.
"It's a non-chemical way of dealing with mosquitoes, so from that perspective, you'd think it would have a lot of appeal", says David O'Brochta, an entomologist at the University of Maryland in Rockville. That's because MosquitoMate's bugs are infected with Wolbachia, a common and naturally occurring strain of bacterium that Aedes aegypti does not carry.
Additionally, the infected mosquitoes are much less apt to spread the disease.
The mosquitoes are licensed to sell in 20 states, including New York, New Jersey, and CT, and Washington, D.C., for five years, but they must also be registered in those jurisdictions before they can be used.
The mosquitoes do not bite, which should make hearing about the released of such, much less alarming.
CEO Stephen Dobson of MosquitoMate is an entomologist who said his company could begin selling their infected mosquitoes as soon as next summer through contracts with different government bodies as well as direct to homeowners starting in Lexington, Kentucky, and then expanding into areas such as Nashville, Tennessee.
The company will have to produce millions of its mosquitoes in order to suppress an entire city's mosquito population, Nature reported.
In the United States are going to use against infective mosquitoes biological weapons.
Another group that is also developing mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia to control wild populations has succeeded in producing large quantities of their insects.
Brazil, which struggled with a Zika health crisis that reportedly ended earlier this year, helped reduce the threat using similarly genetically modified mosquitoes in addition to fumigation. South-East of the country, where dwells the most risky to humans by mosquitoes, the programme will not affect - there test not yet passed.
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