Scientists of James Cook University and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation succeeded in eliminating 80 percent of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes during a field trial in Innisfail, Australia by using a process called Sterile Insect Technique. The scientists had purposefully bred 20 million non biting male mosquitoes for the experiment, Deccan Chronicle has reported. The experiment was conducted over a period of three months.
The insects which have a white marking on their legs were infected with Wolabachia bacteria which renders them sterile. These insects, when they mate with female Aedes Aegypti result in eggs that do not hatch, thereby reducing the population of the mosquitoes. The sterile insect technique has been successfully deployed against Aedes Aegypti for the first time.
Aedes Aegypti are responsible for spread of deadly diseases like Zika, chikungunya and dengue across the world. World Health Organisation (WHO) has flagged Zika as an 'urgent threat to humanity' and the other two diseases as 'major dangers'. The population of these insects are expected to rise due to global warming. Using this technique could help many developing countries combat the disease effectively.
India has been trying similar experiments in Maharashtra using genetically modified mosquitoes which carry genes that kill larvae before they reach adulthood.
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