Scientists turn female mosquitoes into non-biting males

(ORDO NEWS) — American scientists in the process of research have discovered a way to transform female mosquitoes into non-biting males of this insect species. It turned out that such a metamorphosis can be realized by replacing only one element in the genome.

The starting point of the study was the postulate that male mosquitoes, unlike females, do not have a tendency to bite.

As an experimental species, a joint team of American scientists representing Virginia Polytechnic University and Texas A&M University used female yellow fever mosquitoes Aedes aegypti, which carry a number of dangerous infections. In the course of scientific work, geneticists analyzed the M-locus – one of the pairs of chromosomes that determines the “male sex” in insects.

They then inserted the previously identified Nix male defining gene into a chromosomal region inherited by females. This change allowed them to be transformed into fertile males with characteristic male gene expression. At the same time it was noticed

However, the samples obtained could not fly, which was due to the absence of the myo-sex gene in the M-locus, which allows flight. Biologists announced the continuation of the study to study the possibility of including both genes in the genome of females at the same time, since, according to the authors of the scientific work, this effect can provide a decisive potential in the process of combating harmful mosquitoes . Reported by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.

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