Genetically modified mosquitoes kill their own offspring

C. Ward,  SYFY,  2022.

Oxitec, a biotech company, has developed a strain of A. aegypti which they call Friendly. Their modified mosquitos are all males and carry a gene which prevents the birth of females in subsequent generations. In short, they’re reducing disease-carrying mosquitos by killing their babies before they hatch. The Environmental Protection Agency has granted permission for the release of the experimentally modified mosquitos in Florida, and those same mosquitos may soon be released in California. While the federal government has agreed to the program, permission must also be obtained from the states where the releases will occur before they can proceed. Should California grant permission, populations of modified mosquitos could be released in Stanislaus, Fresno, Tulare, and San Bernadino counties soon. Once released, modified male mosquitos breed with wild females, delivering the desired gene sequence to the next generation. Any females in the next generation are terminated before being born and all males which are produced carry the same gene, allowing them to continue the cycle through several generations. Oxitec considers the modification inherently self-limiting and estimates that it will vanish from the overall population after a few generations, at which point mosquito populations will return to normal reproduction.

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