Will producing genetically modified “sterile” male mosquitoes reduce malaria fatalities?



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    Sterile insect technique (SIT) has been used since the 1950s with a number of different insect species. In theory, the practice should reduce the number of malaria deaths since the end result is simply fewer mosquitos. Female mosquitos mate only once in their lives, so if they happen to meet up with a sterile male, then of course none of the eggs they lay will hatch. Experiments with SIT and mosquitos between 1955 and the 1980s provided mixed success. However, scientists believe that with improved technology and techniques that SIT can in fact be an effective disease control method. One of the important factors in a mass-release project is that the sterile male be able to compete effectively with the wild male, and in the past irradiated sterilization techniques have had a negative impact on that abillity.

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