EPA approves release of bacteria-carrying mosquitoes to 20 states


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

The EPA has approved the release of lab-grown male mosquitoes, carrying a bacteria that prevents reproduction, in 20 states.

MosquitoMate will rear the Wolbachia-infected A. albopictus mosquitoes in its laboratories, and then sort males from females. Then the laboratory males, which don’t bite, will be released at treatment sites. When these males mate with wild females, which do not carry the same strain of Wolbachia, the resulting fertilized eggs don’t hatch because the paternal chromosomes do not form properly.

The company says that over time, as more of the Wolbachia-infected males are released and breed with the wild partners, the pest population of A. albopictus mosquitoes dwindles. Other insects, including other species of mosquito, are not harmed by the practice, says Stephen Dobson, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and founder of MosquitoMate.

While caution should always be exercised when introducing something like this into the environment, I honestly can’t see any downside to this work. The lab-grown mosquitoes cannot spread, as they cannot reproduce, even as their introduction reduces the mosquito population.

Nonetheless, no one should be surprised that this project has met with political resistance in many places.

Share

5 comments

  • LocalFluff

    It is a fantastic and actually magic according to common sense just a century ago.

    The real fight is between the creators and the politicians who forbid development and make up all kind of lies about doomsday and microgravity plague to keep their fooled slaves in the paddock.

  • Kyle

    “If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, well, there it is. I’m simply saying that life, finds a way”
    -Dr. Ian Malcolm, Mathematician 1993

  • Judy

    Pedantry strikes again! “bacteria” is plural, so suggest “carrying bacteria that prevent reproduction”

  • wayne

    I would submit-
    “…carrying a strain of bacteria…”
    on the grounds “bacteria” is the common noun, as well as being the plural form.

  • wayne

    If we’re writing copy for Infowars, I’d go with something like–“EPA Approved Bacteria Designed to Prevent Reproduction, Released in 20 States.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *