Tricking virgin female mosquitoes into thinking they’ve had sex could reduce the spread of malaria.
Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the main transmitters of malaria, only mate once in their life cycles.
A hormone is passed to the female mosquito during sex which induces her to lay eggs and makes her unreceptive to other potential mates.
Scientists from Imperial College London, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and the University of Perugia, Italy think this could prove an Achilles heel. If they could mimic this hormone in virgin females they wouldn’t mate and would effectively be sterilised.
Although a female only mates once she can lay several batches of eggs, making An. gambiae the most efficient vector of the human malaria parasite. Malaria is a leading cause of death in tropical and subtropical regions. The World Health Organisation estimates that malaria causes over 650,000 deaths each year, 90 per cent of them in Africa – and most of them children.
Read more at: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_14-11-2014-11-26-12
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