A sex-determining gene in mosquitoes could actually help combat dengue fever. This is good news as far as human health prospects for the future are concerned.
The male mosquito is relatively benign. It is the females that are a danger to human beings and human health. Scientists at Virginia Tech have checked out a gene in mosquitoes that determines the sex typing of the insect. It is responsible for the transmission of yellow fever, dengue and various other deadly diseases from the vector to man.
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Since female mosquitoes suck human and animal blood they could be minimized in the total lot of mosquitoes as a species. This is no easy task though. The females need blood for the production of eggs. If the male fraction could be increased the mosquitoes would desist from biting humans since there would be so few females left.
The gene responsible for tilting the balance from female to male in the mosquitoes is termed Nix. And it is a virtual genome suction pool out there as far as switching over from females to males in the genetic sequences and codes is concerned.
This is the first time that such a mechanism has been found in insects. With the discovery of Nix, the very foundation upon which the generation and regeneration of mosquitoes was based has been revealed.
After scientists injected Nix into mosquito embryos, the females among them developed male organs of reproduction. Via this conversion of deadly females into benign males, the balance of disease-health could be tilted in favor of human beings. And it would be the loss of the mosquitoes.
A lot of further inquiry needs to be done and the remaining procedures that are to be invented are many too. But with a little elbow grease we can make it there and destroy such diseases as dengue fever from the face of the earth.
The species of mosquito responsible for dengue fever started off by multiplying in the puddles on the decks and in the basements of ships. These were bound outward from Africa in the 17th century when the disease broke out.
This is indeed quite an exciting scientific find that could have many fortunate consequences for humanity in the future. The very thought of eradicating disease and ending the misery that dengue fever causes among its human victims is enough to raise optimism levels among the world’s inhabitants. It just goes to show that science reassures and that we ought to have faith in the process.
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This study have been conducted by researchers with the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech who have identified this sex-switching mosquito gene that could help fight dengue fever.