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Releasing two billion mosquitoes into the wild to reduce their population: a not-so-silly idea from an American company. For several years now, companies have been trying to new ways to reduce the mosquito populationother than insecticides and draining of wetlands.

American companies, like Google, or the British Oxitec have already operated GMO mosquito releases in recent years. Seeing that this helped to limit their population, the British Oxitec decided to move from a release of 750 million to two billion mosquitoes.

These mosquitoes are not only males of the species Aedes aegypti, named OX5034 by the scientists. The goal is that they reproduce with females, which will give birth to non-viable larvae. These larvae will all die before adulthood, prevented by the genes of the male from producing a protein necessary for their development.

An advance for the protection of the environment

According to the scientists, this release of mosquitoes would be safe for the environment. This method is even less risky thandraining wetlands where mosquitoes proliferate, or the spraying of insecticides which also kill non-pest insects such as bees.

This technique would drastically reduce the mosquito population, without totally eradicating itwhich would remove a link of the food chain. This genetic modification would not be not harmful for the food of their predators eitherIt does not contain any carcinogenic products. In addition, these mosquitoes do not represent any danger to humanssince they are only males and only the females bite.

The British company is looking to develop this technology in other species of mosquitoes, including those that transmit dangerous diseases like malaria, malaria or zika.

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