In what feels a bit like a Hollywood-style plot twist, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved a plan to release lab-grown mosquitoes in 20 states with the goal of reducing the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes.
MosquitoMate, a biotech company based in Kentucky, is developing mosquito assassins in what it calls the Adam project. As part of this project, MosquitoMate has developed lab-grown male Asian Tiger mosquitoes (since only the females bite) that carry mosquito insecticide. When released into the wild, these male mosquitoes mate with female Asian Tiger mosquitoes, but the eggs do not hatch, thereby reducing the number of mosquitoes that are likely to carry a disease.
“MosquitoMate has performed field trials using the ZAP technology in Kentucky, California, and New York,” said Corey Brelsfoard, the Adam project’s team leader. “MosquitoMate has also performed field trials using similar technology targeting the Yellow Fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, in California and Florida.”