EPA approves ‘killer’ mosquitoes to fight disease


Biotechnology start-up MosquitoMate that releasing a plethora of mosquitoes across U.S., not to start a bug-pocalypse, but to prevent it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has simply approved the use of the startup’s mosquitoes as biopesticide against their Zika-, dengue- and different disease-carrying counterparts in twenty states and Washington DC. You see, MosquitoMate’s insects carry a typical bacterium referred to as Wolbachia pipientis that infects a wide range of invertebrates. By releasing them into the wild, they’ll spread bacteria to the wild population of Aedes albopictus or Asian tiger mosquitoes.

The company can raise their bugs within the lab, separate males and females then release the males, that do not bite, into treatment areas. when the bacteria-carrying males mate with wild females, their eggs do not hatch, because Wolbachia prevents the paternal chromosome from forming properly. Since the species only lives thirty to forty days in the wild, preventing them from reproducing will effectively wipe out local populations.

MosquitoMate only got permission to release what they are calling the “Zap males” in twenty states and DC, because those are the places most similar in temperature and precipitation to Kentucky, new york and California where it held its tests. It plans to sell its “good guy bugs” to hotels, establishments and even homeowners through a summer-long subscription. while it’s unfortunate that almost all of the southeastern states aren’t included in the list, MosquitoMate is hoping to be able to release a different species everywhere the U.S.

This year earlier the startup unleashed 20,000 Wolbachia-carrying male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes within the Florida keys as a part of a trial. the actual fact that it absolutely was able to conduct tests in the Keys is promising enough, considering a United Kingdom firm called Oxitec failed to secure permission to check its genetically changed moquitoes within the area. nevertheless, to be able to use the species, a deadly vector of Zika, dengue fever, and yellow fever, as a biopesticide nationwide. so the EPA still has to approve MosquitoMate’s application

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