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EPA Approves Release of Mosquito-Killing Mosquitoes in 20 States
Kentucky-based biotechnology startup MosquitoMate was given U.S. government approval to release bacteria-infected mosquitoes in several states.
The company's lab-grown Aedes albopictus (aka ZAP males) are designed to halt the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
So how does it work? When ZAP males mate with wild female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can carry yellow fever, dengue and Zika, the resulting eggs do not hatch. That's because MosquitoMate's bugs are infected with Wolbachia, a common and naturally occurring strain of bacterium that Aedes aegypti does not carry. The fertilized eggs never hatch because the paternal chromosomes do not properly form, according to Nature. Mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia are also less likely to carry viruses.
The hope is that wild, disease-carrying mosquito populations will eventually die out. And since the ZAP males do not bite, these mozzies shouldn't be a problem to have around.
"It's a non-chemical way of dealing with mosquitoes, so from that perspective, you'd think it would have a lot of appeal," David O'Brochta, an entomologist at the University of Maryland in Rockville, told Nature. "I'm glad to see it pushed forward, as I think it could be potentially really important."
Gizmodo reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 3 registered the lab-grown mosquito as a biopesticide. MosquitoMate will have a five-year license to sell in 20 different states and Washington, DC.
"First we're going to prove our business model here in Lexington, Kentucky, but we have approval in 20 states," Karen Dobson, MosquitoMate production manager, told
The company will have to produce millions of its mosquitoes in order to suppress an entire city's mosquito population, Nature reported. MosquitoMate must find a way to efficiently separate its non-biting male mosquitoes from females, a process that's currently done by hand and mechanically.
This is not the first time the U.S. government has approved the release of lab-reared mosquitoes to combat diseases. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the experimental release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help combat the Zika virus. But as Motherboard noted, local voters rejected the plan over concerns about its impacts on the local environment.
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By Daisy Brickhill
Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.
By Sam Nickerson
Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.
Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After Customers Find ‘Fragments of Metal’
Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.
The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.
ExxonMobil could be the second company after Monsanto to lose lobbying access to members of European Parliament after it failed to turn up to a hearing Thursday into whether or not the oil giant knowingly spread false information about climate change.
The call to ban the company was submitted by Green Member of European Parliament (MEP) Molly Scott Cato and should be decided in a vote in late April, The Guardian reported.
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.