Scientists Change Gender of a Mosquito to Fight Against Lethal Diseases

female mosquito turned into male

Scientists have found a unique way to battle against mosquito borne disease. They changed the gender of harmful female mosquitoes into male mosquitoes.

Researchers from Fralin Life Science Institute at Virgnia Tech found that female mosquitoes are responsible for outbreak of lethal diseases. Aedes Aegypti mosquito, commonly known as yellow fever, infects around 200,000 people every year. The mosquito also spread numerous other lethal diseases like dengue and chikungunya.

Therefore, the team tried to carry out a sex change experiment on female mosquitoes. They carefully worked on a specific genome for this purpose. Afterwards, they inserted Nix (sex gene) into the embryo of female mosquitoes. Surprisingly, the gene turned female mosquito into male within two days.

Zhijian Jake Tu, a professor of biochemistry, explains the experiment. He informs that the gene provides an opportunity to control mosquito sex.  It enables researchers to fight against infectious diseases.

Since last several years, scientists have been debating over the mosquito gender change experiment. However, this is the first time when any group of researchers has performed it.

The team closely analyzed thousands of DNA sequences. They also carried out numerous computer analyses before the experiment. They specially develop new computer method to modify mosquito gene. The method can easily separate sequences of mosquitoes.

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