Modified Mosquitoes Could Fight the Spread of Malaria

By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2007 8:06 AM CDT
United States. New Orleans. CDC medical research on tiger mosquitoes. 1991 (LON32941)    (Magnum Photos)

(Newser) – Genetically modified mosquitoes that cannot pass on malaria may help reduce the spread of the disease that now causes a million deaths a year, mostly children. A new study shows that the lab-designed bugs could out-breed their natural competition, eventually driving them out altogether and eliminating the route through which humans are infected.

Before any disease-resistant skeeters can be released into the wild, researchers will have to prove that they won't accidentally provide a breeding ground for a more virulent strain of malaria. Andrea Crisanti, a researcher separately working on modified mosquitoes, said, "This has tremendous potential...You don't need insecticides any more."