Infected: Mosquito Sterilization with Bacteria Genes Offers New Hope for Mosquito Control

At Mosquito Squad of Louisville, we make an effort to keep up with all things mosquito. From our efforts with Malaria No More, our keeping up with day to day news of mosquito virus outbreaks, and the latest in mosquito control treatments and solutions, we are your local mosquito experts.

With a great deal of money devoted to curbing mosquito-borne disease, thanks to the Zika outbreak last year, some ground-breaking discoveries are being made all of the time. Recently Science News reported a great advance in efforts to curb the growth of virus-transmitting mosquito populations.

Mosquito Control Bacteria

Bacteria has been used in the past to sterilize male mosquitoes to control mosquito populations. This has been effective, but when infected males mate with infected females, the eggs develop normally as her infection is able to “rescue” the modification that occurs in making the male infertile. 
Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville were able to identify a pair of genes cifA and cifB. These genes are connected to the sterility mechanism in the aforementioned bacteria, called Wolbachia. The genes do not actually exist in the bacteria itself, but rather a “virus embedded in its chromosome.”

Adding Genes to Mosquitoes to Control Reproduction

The breakthrough will allow scientists to insert the genes, rather than the infection, directly into the male mosquitoes. When released into the wild population, it could effectively “crash the population” due to the inability to reproduce. This plan is preferable, as it bypasses the need to release the Wolbachia bacteria into the wild, which could have some long-term negative effects that are yet unknown.

While all of this science is fantastic, nothing is being done on a widespread basis with this technology to lower mosquito populations in Louisville. Until then, make sure you give us a call at Mosquito Squad. We offer season-long mosquito barrier treatments to lower the mosquito population in your yard by 85-90%. Call today to get a quote.

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