Deadly ‘super mosquitoes’ accidentally created by scientists after bungled experiment


BUGGED OUT 
Deadly ‘super mosquitoes’ accidentally created by scientists after bungled experiment
Charlotte Edwards, 17 Sep 2019, 18:39
GENETICALLY modified mosquitoes that were designed by scientists to help populations decrease are actually thriving.
This is according to new research that claims the plan to create gene-hacked mosquitoes that have offspring which die immediately has spectacularly backfired and now scientists don't know what will happen next.
The modified mosquitoes were released in Jacobina in Brazil and were supposed to mix with the local population and decrease numbers with their weak offspring genetics.
Although the wild population did plummet for a short while, 18 months later it was right back up again.
This is mostly concerning because scientists think the new 'super mosquitoes' have properties that might make them harder to kill.
Research about the pests has been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
Mosquitoes spread diseases like Malaria and the Zika virusCredit: Getty – Contributor

Mosquitoes like the Aedes aegypti variety that was edited can carry dangerous diseases like yellow fever, Zika virus and Malaria.
This is why efforts are being made to reduce their numbers.
However, now traces of the genetically modified genes have been found in the natural population.
This means they are successfully interbreeding.
The researchers concluded: "It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors."
The offspring of the gene-hacked mosquitoes and the natural ones are thought to be more robust but whether they pose a threat is unknown.
Researcher Jeffrey Powell told News Atlas: "It is the unanticipated outcome that is concerning."
Oxitec, the British biotech company running the project, assured members of the public that this negative result would not happen.
It then released 450,000 genetically mutated mosquitoes into the wild where interbreeding caused the spread of the mutated genes because the offspring failed to die.
Oxitec disagrees with some of the information published in the research paper about its experiment and is said to be working with Nature Research publishers to make changes.
Mosquito Facts

Here's what you need to know about the tiny pests...
  • Only female mosqutoes bite humans, they need the blood to help their eggs develop
  • There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes in the world
  • Mosquito is Spanish for "little fly"
  • The insect can drink up to three times its weight in blood
  • The average mosquito lifespan is less than 2 months long
  • They spend their first 10 days alive in water
  • The tiny creatures can smell human breath
  • They are picky about the smell of your sweat
  • They have been around since the Jurassic period
  • They do not actually spread HIV because the virus is digested in their stomachs


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