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Modified Mosquito Roundup

December 10, 2010

Sterilized male mosquitoes are part of a grand experiment in biocontrol on Grand Cayman Island.


Releasing sterile skeeters. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The British company Oxitec has announced that last year, it partnered with the government of Grand Cayman Island to release genetically-modified sterile male mosquitoes. The idea was that if the sterile males mated with enough females, the mosquito population would crash. And, according to their research, it did. But groups opposed to the release of genetically modified organisms are alarmed at the research, saying that such releases should be approved and observed by third parties. The modified mosquitoes could help control insect-borne diseases, but some groups are concerned about adding modified genes to the environment.

In other wildlife news, researchers have drilled nearly a mile into the deepest layer of the ocean’s crust and found a rich array of microbes there. Scientists had thought the deep crust would be too hot and nutrient-poor to support much life. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.