Genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are shown on the Oxitec factory in Piracicaba, Brazil, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker – S1AEUJGODLAB
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is pouring £3 million ($4 million) in a project to killer mosquitoes which destroy each other by means of sex.
It is a bold attempt to curb malaria, a deadly disease that is usually transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Tech mogul Gates will be the use of resources of the own organization – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the eradication of malaria “within a generation”.
The plan is to create genetically modified male mosquitoes that mate with their female counterparts in the wild.
Only female mosquitoes bite, so Gates’ army of gene-engineered male mosquitoes would be safe for humans.
What is important is that this male mosquitoes contains a self-limiting gene that is passed on to the females.
When the females get their offspring will die before adulthood, thanks to the gen.
Mosquitoes only bite people, once they mature, so given enough time the danger of blood-sucking female mosquitoes could be eradicated.
This means that it would be possible to bring the voice of the spread of malaria by mosquito bites.
They have been developed by a british company called Oxitec, which has called the creations “Friendly Mosquitoes” – although their females may disagree.
Oxitec has already been gene-engineered mosquitoes to deal with the Zika virus.
In some areas, wild populations of the Aedes aegypti (the mosquito that carries Zika) is reduced by 90 percent.
But the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes require a new genetically modified variety in order to mate.
Oxitec, the murderer of sex mosquitoes are expected to be ready for the tests at the end of 2020.
However, not everyone is happy with the prospect of genetically modified mosquitoes will be used for the early termination of their offspring.
Oxitec’s work is heavily criticized by the Friends of the Earth, a charity dedicated to the protection of the environment.
Back in 2012, Friends of the Earth, Eric Hoffman said: “Taste of the mosquitoes must not move forward in the absence of comprehensive and impartial reviews of the environmental, health and ethical risks.”
In a statement at the time, Friends of the Earth said: “The GM mosquitoes are intended to reduce the population by linking naturally occurring mosquitoes and producing progeny that do not survive, so the population and therefore the transmission of the tropical disease dengue fever.
“The company has been widely criticised for putting its commercial interests ahead of public and the safety of the environment.
“The first releases of gm mosquitoes took place controversially in the Cayman Islands, where there is no biosafety law or regulation.
“Oxitec employees are closely involved in the development of risk assessment guidelines for GM insects worldwide, leading to concerns about lack of independent scrutiny and conflict of interest.”
But Bill Gates is a long time supporter of Oxitec’s work.
Back in 2010, he gave £3.7 million (approximately $4.9 million) Oxitec to assist with the funding of early work on the mosquito killer projects.
He has been extensively funded work on the eradication of malaria, a disease that kills about 440,000 people per year.
Complications that pose a threat to human life, including swelling of the blood vessels in the brain, an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, organ failure (kidney, liver, or spleen, anemia, and low blood sugar.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.