Researchers from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, and Yale University, Connecticut, have discovered genes from a common bacterium that can be utilized to sterilize male insects. The report, published in Nature and Nature Microbiology, can possibly lead to population control for both disease carrying mosquitoes and pest.
The Wolbachia bacteria, which is located in the testes and ovaries of most insect species, plays an important role during mating. When an infected male fertilizes an egg that fails to develop its called cytoplasmic incompatibility. But, when females are infected with the disease healthy embryos can develop. The discovery may help public health officials control the size of insect populations by introducing sterile males into the environment. “If the sterilized males are released into problem areas we can eliminate insect populations,” said researcher John Beckmann. The project was funded by the NIFA'S Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program.
Read more from Yale.
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