Malaria Male mosquito DNA modification 'could halt transmission' of disease

Oxitec non-executive director, Luke Alphey has come up with the idea of modifying the DNA of disease-carrying male insects that seek to mate with female insects in the wild.

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A sustainable method of controlling mosquitoes, carriers of the malaria parasite may have been developed by a non-executive director of bio-tech company Oxitec,  Luke Alphey.

According to International Business Times, Alphey came up with the idea of modifying the DNA of disease-carrying male insects that seek to mate with female insects in the wild.

As a result of the modification, any offspring would not survive until adulthood with a consequent decline of the population of that species.

Reports say Oxitec has already implemented its new technology on the Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that carries the Dengue fever, a viral infection on the rise worldwide, which has yielded a success rate of up to 90% suppression of the target mosquito population in every trial.

According to Alphey, Oxitec started its trials with the Dengue mosquito as there is only one key species transmitting this disease around the world.

But in the case of malaria, things are more complicated "as there are quite a number of different species in Africa, in the Americas and in Asia" he explained.

He however said that  in the spectrum of species and interventions for malaria, there are places where this technology would be very useful.

Adding that the technology could be "part of an integrated control programme that can deal with some malaria mosquitoes – such as the outdoor biting ones – that are hard to control with existing methods."

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