From U.S. News
January 29, 2018
MONDAY, Jan. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) — It sounds like science fiction, but researchers say they have taken the first step toward creating female mosquitoes that don’t bite and spread disease.
They identified 902 genes related to blood feeding and 478 genes linked to non-blood feeding from the mosquito species Wyeomyia smithii.
Found in swamps and bogs along the east coast of North America, they are commonly called pitcher plant mosquitoes, because they live in the water of pitcher plants until adulthood.
The method used to isolate the genes in this species of mosquitoes will now be used to identify non-biting genes in other species, said the authors of the study.
“The spread of blood-borne diseases by mosquitoes relies on their taking a blood meal; if there is no bite, there is no disease transmission,” said researcher John Colbourne, chairman of environmental genomics at the University of Birmingham in England.
Female mosquitoes are the blood-feeders; males feed on nectar.
“Our research is important as it provides a unique starting point to determine if there are universal nonbiting genes in mosquitoes that could be manipulated as a means to control vector-borne disease,” Colbourne explained in a university news release.