Zika Prevention: Buzz genetically modified mosquitoes
#Cosmoread: With the rise in parts of South and Central America Zika virus, experts to prevent the spread of potentially dangerous viruses that are looking for new ways.
Zika virus can cause an infection with mild symptoms, but experts worry that the infection in pregnant women with their children can lead to a condition known as microcephaly. Microcephaly severely impacts the brain and affect a child’s cognitive development. In February 1, the World Health Organization announced that a public health emergency linked to the mi
crocephaly possibly Zika virus formed.
Although not yet developed a vaccine potential of people who come in contact with it to offer protection against the virus is widespread. And exposure to the virus – – Zika in the first place, but another possible means of preventing the spread of mosquito that carries the virus, in hopes of preventing the cutting goal. They work to eliminate mosquitoes could be one way of using pesticides; However, another technique that is gaining popularity is the use of genetically modified mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes by manipulating a few genes, scientists (or in other words die off) can lead to a population crash, Anthony James, of California, Irvine, a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at the University said.
The generic equivalent of a pesticide, James told Live Science.
There are several ways to do this. One option is the sperm of the male mosquitoes that die before they reach adulthood causes their offspring have to insert the lethal gene, James said. And therefore cannot find mates – – is another option, so they cannot fly to manipulate genes in women and leave no descendants, he said.
Aside from these “population suppression” approach, scientists are also looking into a method is called “population replacement.” Using population replacement, scientists in order to reduce the ability of the mosquito to transmit the pathogen to tweak the genes, he said.
This technique causes the mosquitoes that carry malaria parasites that have been tested, James said. However, the Zika virus, such as the fight against a flavivirus in a less popular idea, because rather than just targeting a flavivirus, a researcher all those who want to target will require substantial engineering , he said. Other flaviviruses dengue carried by mosquitoes, yellow fever includes and Chikungunya.
Indeed, Zika virus, the population-suppression technique is simple, James said. By eliminating the mosquitoes
that carry the flaviviruses, the rates of these diseases would drop, he said.
Currently, a British company called Oxitec a strain of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes flaviviruses that the species population, that men carrying a lethal gene that can be used to suppress the use has been borne.
To reduce the spread of dengue virus in mosquitoes were designed, but because the same mosquitoes carry Zika, the Zika virus can act as well, James said.
Currently in field trials of mosquitoes, are taking place in Brazil, according to the company.
A potential downside to the population suppression “nontarget” may affect populations. In other words, what researchers consider killing of the population in the area will affect others – for example, those that rely on species for food.
But this is not a concern with the Aedes aegypti mosquito, James said. In the Western Hemisphere, “It is [a aegypti] are an invasive species is important to emphasize,” James said. That means they are not a natural part of the ecosystem, could potentially have a positive impact and destroy them, as opposed to harming the ecosystem, he said.
There are also the manipulated genes were transferred to other species there are concerns about what will happen. To avoid this kind of male mosquitoes, which bite and therefore will not come into contact with other species is to manipulate genes, James said.