Genetically modified fungus could kill 99% of anopheles mosquitoes

Malaria is considered an extremely dangerous disease.spreading through mosquito bites — about 400,000 people die from it every year. To reduce the population of anopheles mosquitoes, scientists used insecticides, but later insects began to develop immunity to them. While searching for an alternative method for the destruction of contagious bloodsuckers, scientists from the University of Maryland found that they were dying from fungus spores with implanted Australian poisonous spider genes.

Genetically Modified Funguscalled Metarhizium pingshaensei - it has long been known as the natural killer of anopheles mosquitoes. The researchers found that sometimes there was not enough toxins contained in his arguments for the complete killing of insects, so they decided to introduce the genes of a poisonous Australian spider into it. To test the effectiveness of genetically modified spores, the authors of the work constructed three isolated structures for conducting a large-scale experiment.

New method of extermination of anopheles mosquitoes

Experimental site calledMosquitoSphere: different conditions were created in each of the three structures. In the first room, scientists hung a canvas with modified fungal spores, and in the second room - a canvas with ordinary samples. There was no dispute in the third structure, and, in principle, nothing threatened the mosquitoes.

Plants and plants were also planted inside.ponds were built to feed mosquitoes - in each isolated area, scientists released 1000 adult males and 500 females. Each group lived in their conditions exactly 45 days, and after the end of this period, the researchers considered the number of dead insects.

Malaria spread will stop

As expected, in the building withat the end of the experiment, only 13 adult mosquitoes remained with genetically modified fungal spores, which is clearly not enough for their reproduction. In the second room with the usual disputes, 455 mosquitoes survived, and in the third, their number was reduced only to 1,396 individuals.

The new method of destruction of dangerous mosquitoes hasAnother huge plus is that its toxins do not affect harmless insects like bees. According to co-author of the study Raymond St. Leger, when fungal spores discover that they are on a mosquito, they penetrate into its cuticle and get inside the insect. They do not act on other insects.

The researchers announced that their goal was notcomplete destruction of mosquitoes. With this method, they hope to prevent malaria epidemics — by reducing the mosquito population, they want to stop the spread of the disease.

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