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Photo of an Aedes aegypti mosquito
This mosquito is the main transmitter of dengue and yellow fever © 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
With Brazil’s decision in April 2014 to allow the widespread deployment of this transgenic mosquito created by the British start-up Oxitec, this mosquito will become the first genetically modified creature to be released into the wild. British start-up Oxitec's transgenic method consists of introducing two new genes into the male A. aegypti: One of them codes for a killer protein and the other for a fluorescent marker that allows researchers to monitor and track the transgenic population.

The children of those mosquito are not able to survive, thus the population is is decreasing.“Every two weeks we released on average 10-15 transgenic mosquitoes for every wild male,” explains Parry. “After six months, the frequency and number of releases can be reduced, but they need to be maintained over the long term.”

Dengue fever is rampant in tropical and subtropical regions; 50-100 million people are infected every year, of whom 25,000 die. Even so, the technique is costly. Jayme Souza-Neto, a scientist at São Paulo State University, estimates the cost for a city of 50,000 inhabitants at $900,000 to $2.2 million the first year, and $450,000 per year after that.

© Text 2015 The Technologist

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View full profile Jérôme Lutz from Berlin & Munich, Germany

I like to share the great things I discover daily while researching and working in the field of Synthetic Biology.

When I talk to people about it, they often refer to Science Fiction. However, when I send them links to this wiki and they read through those pages, they start understanding that this is real and it's happening right now.