Anti-Dengue Mosquitoes To Be Released In Australia and Vietnam

By on Oct 8, 2010 in Australia, Health, Science, World Comments

Wolbachia bacteriaAccording to New Scientist‘s report, mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria will be released into the wild next year in Australia and Vietnam.

Scott O’Neill of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues have found Wolbachia, a fruit-fly bacterium that can infect Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and makes them less able to carry the dengue virus. It also cut their lifespan by 50%, which is really a good help since only elderly mosquitoes transmit the dengue virus. So, they’ll die before they can transmit the virus.

The Wolbachia is transmitted thru eggs of infected females, so only descendants of the released mosquitoes will have them. However, the dengue-free descendants should dominate fast because Wolbachia-infected females have a competitive advantage: they can mate with infected wild males and reproduce, while wild females cannot. When a wild female mate with Wolbachia-infected male, some or all of their fertilized eggs die. This unique reproductive advantage will effectively push Wolbachia into populations of dengue mosquitoes.

Image Credit: Scott O’Neill

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