Mosquitoes are troublemakers. They have been so for centuries. The number of people who have died after being bitten by them throughout human history remains a mystery. Though some researchers argue that mosquitoes have killed at least half the number of people who ever lived on this planet. Others claim that the number of deaths caused by mosquitoes is greater than that in all wars fought in history.
From the destitute on the street to emperors like Alexander the Great (who died of malaria at the age of 32 in Babylon), these tiny creatures haven’t spared anyone. Unlike humans, they don’t discriminate.
To eliminate them has been the endeavour of many brilliant minds the world over. So far, the global practice has been to use ever more effective drugs (insecticides and mosquito repellents) against them. But mosquitoes are resilient and have developed the ability to adapt to new drugs.
Mosquitoes are smart creatures and they are getting smarter. Not just smart, they are becoming stronger, more resilient and healthier.
To overcome these drug-resistant mosquitoes, scientists are now trying to devise ways to eliminate them by out-breeding them.
To do this, scientists are brainstorming to develop a special variety of mosquitoes that are sexually super active, can mate with wild female mosquitoes at the first encounter, but are also sterile.
The findings of a recent research on this idea have been published in the latest edition of the journal of Indian Council of Medical Research.
This technique has been successful in eliminating other harmful insects like screw-worms and fruit flies (which cause massive loss to agriculture), and some trials on mosquitoes have shown positive results.