Plan To Kill Off Mosquitoes Backfires, Spawning Mutant Hybrid Insects

In what sounds like the plot to a Syfy channel original movie, a plan to curb a mosquito population has backfired spectacularly, making the disease-carriers even more resilient to pest-control measures. The plan involved genetically altering mosquitoes in Brazil so their babies would die instantly, reported Futurism. However, the company that hatched the plan, British Biotech firm Oxitec Ltd., then released the mutant mosquitoes with the hope that they’d breed with the wild insects and spread the entomological SIDS gene, causing the population to plummet substantially. This, they pronounced, optimistically, would drastically reduce mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and dengue fever. For a time, the plan seemed to be going swimmingly. The genetically-modified mosquitoes bred with their wild counterparts, causing a dip in the wild population. Unfortunately, the numbers came roaring back just 18 months later. Researchers think that the wild female mosquitoes may have grown wise to the measure and began avoiding the genetically modified males, reported New Atlas.


PHOTO: Getty Images

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