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Against all expectations, DNA of released genetically engineered mosquitoes could live on in nature in Brazil

Le moustique Aedes aegypti, vecteur de diverses maladies | James Ghatny, Wikkicommons

In Jacobina, Brazil, every week between June 2013 and September 2015 saw the release of around 450,’000 genetically modified male specimens of the mosquito species Aedes aegypti. The mosquitoes were developed in the labs of British firm Oxitec and propagated in Brazil. The aim of this large-scale trial was to decimate the local mosquito population; the genetically modified males would mate with wild females and the resulting offspring would die off as the result of a genetically engineered manipulation.

Why it’s interesting. Reducing the mosquito population should reduce the number of dengue fever and zika virus infections since the viruses that cause them are transmitted to humans by Aedes aegypti.