Posts Tagged ‘Queensland’
Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of humans. Years of research, and millions of pounds, have been spent trying to control both the pathogens and the mosquitoes – yet many diseases are increasing in both prevalence and distribution.
A recent review from scientists at the University of Queensland and Monash University, Australia, describes a new method to potentially control the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector of dengue fever – a severe and potentially life-threatening flu-like virus. No effective treatmens for dengue fever exists and an estimated 40% of the world’s population are at risk from the disease.
The paper describes a biological method for mosquito control, using the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia. These microbes live within the cells of insects and are thought to be the world’s most common parasitic bacteria. Wolbachia do some very odd things, turning male insects into females, or enabling females to reproduce without males via parthenogenesis. They can also provide some advantages, aiding in insect nutrition or pathogen resistance.