News That Matters

Tag: mosquitoes

GM fungus rapidly kills 99% of malaria mosquitoes, study suggests

GM fungus rapidly kills 99% of malaria mosquitoes, study suggests

Health
A fungus - genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin - can rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosquitoes that spread malaria, a study suggests.Trials, which took place in Burkina Faso, showed mosquito populations collapsed by 99% within 45 days.The researchers say their aim is not to make the insects extinct but to help stop the spread of malaria.The disease, which is spread when female mosquitoes drink blood, kills more than 400,000 people per year. Worldwide, there are about 219 million cases of malaria each year.Conducting the study, researchers at the University of Maryland in the US - and the IRSS research institute in Burkina Faso - first identified a fungus called Metarhizium pingshaense, which naturally infects the Anopheles mosquitoes that spre...
Mosquitoes 'put off biting' by human diet drugs

Mosquitoes 'put off biting' by human diet drugs

Health
Scientists say they may have found a way to reduce the appetite of blood-hungry mosquitoes, by giving them human diet drugs.This left them feeling full and bloated and put them off biting, US researchers said.They said the technique could be used to prevent illnesses such as Zika, yellow fever and malaria.But their research is still in its early stages, the study in the journal Cell reports.The researchers, from Rockefeller University in New York City, conducted their experiments on Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes of this species - who are the only ones who bite - are fiercely attracted to human beings, because their blood contains the protein they need to produce their eggs.Once fed, that attraction to humans goes aw...
Male mosquitoes listen for approaching females using built-in amplifier

Male mosquitoes listen for approaching females using built-in amplifier

Science
Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Play it loud. Male mosquitoes use a built in amplifier to hear the wingbeat of approaching females, according to new research. The findings, detailed Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, could help scientists design acoustic traps for disease-carrying mosquitoes. "Hearing is a crucial sense for mosquitoes as acoustic communication plays a key role in their mating behavior," Joerg Albert, researcher at the University College London, said in a news release. "Understanding how mosquitoes communicate in swarms to find mates is important in the development of vector control strategies." During previous observations, scientists noticed the antennae of male mosquitoes appeared to vibrate at the same frequency as the wingbeats of females. To find out why, scientists st...
Gene editing wipes out mosquitoes in the lab

Gene editing wipes out mosquitoes in the lab

Science
Researchers have used gene editing to completely eliminate populations of mosquitoes in the lab.The team tested their technique on the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, which transmits malaria.They altered part of a gene called doublesex, which determines whether an individual mosquito develops as a male or as a female. This allowed the Imperial College London scientists to block reproduction in the female mosquitoes.They want to see if the technology could one day be used to control mosquito populations in the wild.Writing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, Prof Andrea Crisanti and colleagues report that caged populations of Anopheles gambiae collapsed within 7-11 generations.Dr Crisanti said: "2016 marked the first time in over two...
Mosquitoes transmit dengue virus more frequently when temperatures rise

Mosquitoes transmit dengue virus more frequently when temperatures rise

Science
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Mosquitoes are more likely to transmit dengue virus on warmer days, according to new research published Friday in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.The findings suggest health officials should consider weather forecasts when working to prevent and respond to outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease."If the outdoor temperature is high for a sustained period, dengue prevention strategies should be a priority," Xiao-Guang Chen, a scientist at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, said in a news release.In the summer of 2014, Guangzhou experienced a significant outbreak of dengue fever. The outbreak coincided with several months of hot weather, with an average high of 86 degrees Fahrenheit.Scientists suspected the weather might have something to do with the ou...