Scientists have been battling mosquitoes for long and every time it seems that they are winning the battle, these pesky insects come back with the double force. However it seems that scientists have finally able to break this impasse in a more humane manner – without killing these creatures, by changing their sex.
It is a known fact that only the female mosquito bite and suck blood while the male mosquitoes are content with sugar which they get from plant nectar, plant juices and fruit juices. The female mosquitoes need blood to produce fertile eggs.
Scientists have now figured out how to change the gender of a mosquito at a molecular level. It will also remove the deadly qualities of the female mosquitoes. The mosquitoes in question are the dengue transmitting mosquitoes which also happen to be female. The researchers first identified the genes responsible for gender and then use the information to literally change the gender of the mosquitoes. This transformation is impressive because the blood thirsty female mosquito is changes into harmless male mosquito.
Scientists have been looking for this interesting swap for some time now. Scientists have been contemplating altering specific genes to prevent illness or the spread of illness in animals. Researchers are hoping to achieve something similar in humans also.
Zhijian Jake Tu, a professor at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences feels that the gene in question and the scientist ability to alter it is revolutionary. He elaborates that the method provides a unique opportunity to change the mosquito sex in the battle against infectious disease.
Zach Adelman who is also involved in the research said that scientists have been working on this for decades and had known about the gene for the last 70 years and had been working to locate it. The gene was located in a place which was never touched before. It was not even hidden but scientists had never thought of looking it there.