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Scientists in California Aim To Edit Genes of Mosquitoes, Making Them ‘Blind’ To Humans

There is really no foolproof way to get rid of mosquitoes.

There is really no foolproof way to get rid of mosquitoes.

If the California-based scientists manage to succeed in their research, people will be free from the outbreak of many diseases which are mosquito-borne.

Having to co-exist with mosquitoes is one of the biggest banes of being human. Not only are these pint-sized insects the carriers of a host of diseases but they are also a source of constant irritation. Lighting coils or spraying mosquito repellent liquids can ward them off for a while, but they return with full force once the effect fades. There is really no foolproof way to get rid of mosquitoes. However, scientists might be on the way to a breakthrough when it comes to reducing mosquito infestation. According to the report published in the medical journal Current Biology, editing the genes of mosquitoes will render them unable to spot humans, thus eliminating the possibility of any human getting affected by a mosquito bite.

A team of scientists based in California is doing this by using a type of gene editing tool called Crisp-Case-Nine. Using this tool, they are trying to disable the light sensing receptors of mosquitoes, thereby essentially crippling them. Unable to detect humans anymore, mosquitoes will no longer pose a danger to them. And since only female mosquitoes are known to drink human blood, denying them nourishment means that their breeding will come to a halt, thereby making them extinct over time.

If the California-based scientists manage to succeed in their research, people will be free from the outbreak of many diseases which are mosquito-borne. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, say the study is aimed at controlling mosquito vision.

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first published:August 20, 2021, 19:57 IST