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The company is ambitious to eliminate mosquitoes, the most hated animal in the world

Mosquitoes are the most deadly animals in nature. Each year, about 1 million people die from diseases related to them. There are many reasons why they become the most hated animal in the world, such as the annoying buzzing sound or the superhuman ability to “swallow” and the terrible speed of reproduction.

However, recently a project has been carried out to eliminate this persistent threat to humanity. Oxitec, a British biotech company, kicked off a months-long experiment by releasing billions of mosquitoes change gene in California and Florida.

The company is ambitious to eliminate the world's most hated animal, the future is not far away from mosquito bites?

However, these are not ordinary mosquitoes. If the experiment is successful, they will contribute to the reduction of mosquito populations in these areas. The reason is because this mosquito colony is only male and they carry a special gene. Male mosquitoes are completely unable to bite like female mosquitoes, and when mating in the wild, only their male offspring can survive.

Gradually, the number of female mosquitoes will be exhausted, eliminating the ability of the whole population to reproduce, leading to the painless “death” of the mosquito family.

This is not the first time a similar experiment has taken place, but it is the largest-scale one. The researchers hope that the solution could be effective in killing disease-carrying mosquitoes in areas where malaria or Zika is endemic. One advantage of this method is that there is no need to use pesticides, which affect both the environment and beneficial species.

To carry out this project, the scientists used the “gene drive” technique. In a word, they will genetically modify an organism so that it has the desired genetic properties and has a more than 50% chance of being passed on to the next generation. With each generation, the number of individuals with this genetic trait will increase, until the entire population possesses it.

The “gene drive” also occurs in nature as observed in common fruit flies. However, this technique was only used artificially after the introduction of Crispr technology. Despite its promise, there are concerns that if misused, the “gene drive” could be the trigger for a series of biological disasters. Also, it’s almost impossible to reverse it.

The company is ambitious to eliminate the world's most hated animal, the future is not far away from mosquito bites?

The experiment has been going on for many years, but this is Oxitec’s largest attempt yet.

In April, Oxitec released the results of a previous experiment in the Florida Keys that showed positive signs. They found that female mosquitoes carrying the modified gene were unable to survive to adulthood. In addition, the mosquito swarm did not exceed a radius of 400 meters from the place where they were first released.

The project also faced mixed opinions from the public and the scientific community. The first argument is that although not a key species, eradicating the mosquito would have an impact on its predators and ecological consequences. Furthermore, there can be many undesirable consequences such as the emergence of hybrid species or even more dangerous new diseases.

In a number of surveys in 2016 and 2017, many Americans unanimously opposed and had a negative view of genetic engineering. In which, 80% of comments sent to the FDA expressed dissatisfaction with the Florida trial. However, similar public opinion has not yet appeared in other countries.

Currently, the main goal of interest to scientists is to mitigate the impact of infectious diseases spread by animals, not only mosquitoes but also other species such as mice and parasitic ticks.

Source: Quartz lai-phan-doi-vidau-den-noi-20220509155846687.chn

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