Why in news?
GM version of Aedes Aegypti plans to be released to control certain diseases.
- The technology uses genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry a dominant lethal gene.
- When this male GM mosquitoes’ mate with wild female mosquitoes the lethal gene is passed on to offspring.
- The lethal gene in the offspring kills the larvae before they reach adulthood.
- Male mosquitoes do not bite humans, the release of GM males will not increase the risk of dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
- Vector control using Aedes aegypti infected with the bacterium Wolbachia is achieved by using the life-shortening bacteria strain in both male and female mosquitoes.
- As Wolbachia is maternally inherited, the bacteria are anyway passed onto offspring.
- Dengue, Zika or chikungunya viruses cannot replicate when mosquitoes have Wolbachia.
- A feature of Wolbachia is that it is self-sustaining, making it a low-cost intervention.