Dengue-resistant mosquitoes to be released next year

Oct 10, 2010 by Lisa Zyga weblog
An Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Image credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim, GNU FDL.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Every year, dengue fever infects up to 100 million people and kills more than 20,000 of them. In an effort to reduce these numbers, scientists have infected mosquitoes with bacteria that makes them less able to carry the dengue virus, and plan to release these mosquitoes in Australia and Vietnam next year.

In a study published last year, Scott O'Neill of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues found that the bacterium Wolbachia can inhibit the ability of several pathogens to infect Aedes aegypti , the species that spreads dengue . Previous research has identified a strain of Wolbachia that shortens mosquitoes' lifespans by about one-half. Since only elderly insects transmit dengue, this advantage should also decrease the number of infections transmitted to humans.

Female mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia pass it down to their eggs, and scientists hope that these dengue-resistant mosquitoes will quickly dominate non-dengue-resistant mosquitoes. The researchers explain that dengue-resistant female mosquitoes have a competitive advantage over the others since they can reproduce with both dengue-resistant and non-dengue-resistant males, while non-dengue-resistant females can only reproduce with non-dengue-resistant males.

Researchers estimate that Wolbachia already infects more than 60% of all insect species, including many mosquitoes. However, Wolbachia is not found in most of the mosquito species that transmit human pathogens. The scientists hope that the combination of Wolbachia-mediated pathogen interference and life-shortening effect will together provide a powerful approach for controlling insect-transmitted diseases.

Explore further: Heaven scent: Finding may help restore fragrance to roses

More information: via: New Scientist

Related Stories

Scientists find bacterium can halt dengue virus transmission

Apr 01, 2010

Dengue fever -- caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes -- threatens 2.5 billion people each year and there is no vaccine or treatment. New research by Michigan State University entomologists has found that a bacterium ...

Scientists closing the zap on dengue fever

Jan 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A mosquito-borne virus that each year harms up to 100 million people and kills more than 20,000 is a step closer to being controlled after a breakthrough by Queensland scientists.

Mosquito parasite may help fight dengue fever

May 01, 2009

Dengue fever is a terrible viral disease blighting many of the world's tropical regions. Carried by mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti, 40% of the world's population is believed to be at risk from the infect ...

Dengue kills at least 27 in New Delhi

Oct 13, 2006

At least 27 people have died of dengue in New Delhi, as health officials continue to work to control areas where mosquitoes, which spread the disease, breed.

Recommended for you

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

Jul 02, 2015

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

Jul 02, 2015

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

Making the biofuels process safer for microbes

Jul 02, 2015

A team of investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have created a process for making the work environment less toxic—literally—for the organisms that do the heavy ...

Why GM food is so hard to sell to a wary public

Jul 02, 2015

Whether commanding the attention of rock star Neil Young or apparently being supported by the former head of Greenpeace, genetically modified food is almost always in the news – and often in a negative ...

The hidden treasure in RNA-seq

Jul 01, 2015

Michael Stadler and his team at the Friedrich Miescher institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) have developed a novel computational approach to analyze RNA-seq data. By comparing intronic and exonic RNA reads, ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Witch9
not rated yet Oct 10, 2010
'dengue-resistant females .. can reproduce with both dengue-resistant and non-dengue-resistant males, while non-dengue-resistant females can only reproduce with non-dengue-resistant males' so 1 can reproduce with either and the other only with her own kind? why is that?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.