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Singapore Lab Breeding 24 Million Sterile Mosquitoes Weekly *

Feb. 27, 2023.
1 min. read Interactions

Fighting mosquito-born viruses that kill about 21,000 people globally each year

About the Writer

Amara Angelica

114.05458 MPXR

Senior Editor Amara Angelica, an electrical engineer and inventor, was previously Editor of Kurzweil AI, working with Ray Kurzweil on The Singularity Is Near and other works

In the breeding room of Singapore’s National Environment Agency, mosquitoes produce millions of tiny black eggs carrying the bacterium Wolbachia

The Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) is breeding Aedes aegypti, a mosquito species that can transmit viruses to humans, including dengue — a “growing global threat which, by some estimates, infects 100 to 400 million and kills about 21,000 people each year,” according to an article in UNDARK, cited by The Atlantic.

Since 2016, NEA scientists have been setting free male Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes around Singapore.

“By releasing male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into the community, Singapore is following a protocol that aims to suppress the population of native mosquitoes. When such males mate with local Wolbachia-free females, the females lay eggs that won’t hatch, and in time, the number of mosquitoes decreases. Additionally, under some circumstances, the bacterium can interfere with mosquitoes’ ability to reproduce.”

Racks of larvae in the NEA lab are kept under careful conditions to ensure that males and females grow into pupae that are as different in size as possible. NEA scientists have perfected the process, keeping the diet, temperature, and humidity perfectly constant. (Credit: NEA)

 

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