Self-Destructing Skeeters.

Breeding mosquitoes to control disease?

Kallista Images/Custom Medical Stock Photo

Health and Science. Self-Destructing Skeeters. A killer gene may help reduce mosquito populations.

Mosquitoes are remarkably good at transmitting deadly ailments, so why not a killer gene? Researchers at a British biotech firm have created mosquitoes with a gene that when passed on results in offspring dependent on an antibiotic to survive. Without the drug, the new generation would die. In the first study of its kind, the genetically altered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes--which can carry dengue fever--were released into the wild on Grand Cayman island, and early results suggest the strategy may work to reduce skeeter populations and disease. The engineered males were half as successful at mating as wild ones, and 10% of...

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