12 June 2014, 06:33

Genetically modified mosquitoes against malaria

Genetically modified mosquitoes against malaria

Scientists from Imperial College London have found a way to control malaria. The researchers suggest to increase the number of male genetically modified mosquitoes. The number of infectious stings will be reduced, as only females bite. In addition, according to experts, in some time the population will be significantly reduced due to the lack of females

Scientists have found a way to genetically modify mosquitoes and reduce the number of their population. Thus, the researchers hope to combat malaria. But skeptics remind of the dangers associated with a change in the ecosystem, says the English site of RT.

The technique, elaborated by the scientists of Imperial College in London, presupposes that 95% of born mosquitoes will be male. Thus, after six generations the insect population will decline sharply due to the disappearance of females.

According to the World Health Organization, in 2012, malaria killed 627 thousand people. The vast majority of them were African children.

“Short-term benefits are that males mosquitoes do not bite people. However, in the long term it will be possible to eliminate or at least significantly reduce the mosquito population, " said study author Andrea Crisanto.

Scientific developments are still at an early stage. But scientists hope that such approach could be a "cheap and effective way to eliminate malaria in entire regions."

Similar work has been carried out in 2008, but then this experience has failed. Efforts of specialists led to unintended sterilization of mosquitoes and insects were not able to reproduce. Scientists note that the idea of ​​reducing the mosquito females is not new. It is more than 50 years old. However, for now there is no technology that can implement it.

Methods to combat malaria-carrying mosquitoes, which are used in practice today, are aimed on spraying insecticides, as well as using conventional grids. However, WHO warns that soon mosquitos can become resistant to chemicals. In this regard, 3.4 billion people are still at risk of contracting malaria.

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