A global team of scientists have found a way to turn female mosquito embryos into males at a genetic level, according to a paper published in Science Express. The finding could really come in handy, since females are the ones that bite, constantly hunting for blood to develop their eggs.
For some of us, mosquitoes are merely an annoyance we can solve with a simple swat or two. But in many parts of the world they carry deadly diseases and are major threat to the health of a population. There are about 200,000 cases of yellow fever each year. And of these, 30,000 result in death. There has been a number of efforts over the years to solve this problem, but the process usually involves breeding a large number of mosquitoes — which can be time-consuming and costly — and releasing the sterile males into high-risk areas.
To streamline this process, researchers tried to find a genetic switch that could turn females into males. They didn’t quite do that, but they did find a way to alter their genitals. The team discovered a male-determining factor gene called “Nix” in the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito…
SOURCE: THE VERGE