Scientists in Brazil are preparing to release millions of factory-bred mosquitoes in an attempt to wipe out their distant cousins that carry tropical diseases. The insects’ method: have sex and then die.
British firm Oxitec says its genetically modified mosquitoes will swarm in among ordinary species such as Aedes aegypti, the insect that carries feared diseases such as Zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.
They will mate with the females of the ordinary mosquitoes, spawning babies with a genetically inbuilt flaw that causes them to die quickly.
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With their work done, the modified father mosquitoes will then give up the ghost themselves — as they are genetically programmed to do.
Oxitec says its factory in the town of Piracicaba, northwest of Sao Paulo, can produce 60 million mutant mosquitoes a week.
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