London, Oct 11 In an important research development a genetically modified mosquito has been created that wipe out natural mosquito populations and save thousands of lives in malaria-stricken regions of the world such as India and South Asia.
These genetically modified mosquitoes could soon be released into the wild in an attempt to combat malaria that is currently responsible for thousands of deaths every year in India.
A similar attempt was made in India in 1970s and had collapsed following accusation of biological warfare.
Andrea Crisanti, the research leader writing an article in 'Nature Biotechnology', says that the scientists plan is to breed, sterilise and release millions of these male insects so they mate with wild females but produce no offspring, eradicating insects in the target region within weeks. Scientists at Imperial College London added a gene that makes the testicles of the male mosquitoes fluorescent, allowing the scientists to distinguish and easily separate males from females.
Professor Crisanti said: