Vector Control Q&A

Top Frequently Asked Questions:


  1. Q: What kills the mosquito?
    A: A self-limiting gene is tied up to the normal processes in an insect cell, and as a result, the modified mosquitoes can’t develop properly, so it dies before it becomes an adult which can reproduce and spread disease.

  2. Q: What is SIT ?
    A: The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a method of biological insect control, whereby overwhelming numbers of sterile insects are released into the wild. The released insects are preferably male, as this is more cost-effective and the females may in some situations cause damage by laying eggs in the crop, or, in the case of mosquitoes, taking blood from humans. Keep reading.

  3. Q: How can you recognize a vector control mosquito?
    A: Depending on the (SIT) programme, insects are marked with fluorescent dusts or food dye, and others contain genes that make fluorescent proteins that glow when viewed under certain filters.

  4. Q: Millions of male mosquitos are needed, how do you manage to separate the Y from the X eggs?
    A: Because, male and female PUPAE are significantly different in size (luckily) they are separated mechanically 

  5. Q: What about regulation?
    A: Regulations for the release of GM organisms of any kind in a country are covered by the national (biosafety) regulations and law of that country. Each country has its own regulatory procedures although in practice many countries adopt similar processes and standards, including a risk assessment. Read more (The Cartagena Protocol)

  6. Q: What about if birds or geckos eat those mosquitos?
    A: Ants, spiders, fish etc.can eat them if they find them, and it would be the same as eating a wild one because the proteins from the two introduced genes are non-toxic and non-allergenic, UNLIKE other control tools such as insecticides that will affect many insect species and their food chains.

  7. Q: Do all mosquitoes spread Dengue Fever or Chikungunya? (Courtesy of OXITEC)
    A: No. Aedes aegypti is the species of mosquito which is primarily responsible for spreading dengue. Also, only female mosquitoes can spread dengue or chikungunya. Males do not bite or spread disease (in fact males cannot bite). Other Aedes species such as Aedes albopictus, can also spread dengue and chikungunya, but Aedes aegypti is the main vector and it is this species that is responsible for almost all of the dengue epidemics. Aedes albopictus is often cited as a dengue vector and can indeed spread the disease but it is not very efficient. Other mosquito species bite humans but do not spread dengue fever.
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