Living genetic weapons released into nature

Living genetic weapons released into nature

Scientists at Cornell University in New York tested in the field a genetically modified cabbage moth Plutella xylostella, which was conceived as a weapon against pests of agricultural plants. This was reported in a press release on Phys.org.

Researchers released live males of moths, which, mating with females, transmit to the offspring a gene that impedes the survival of female caterpillars. The periodic release of genetically modified insects affects the propagation of pests in the wild. The gene is fixed in the population and after several generations leads to the complete disappearance of the moth.

Preliminary studies in greenhouses have shown that the release of a self-limiting line of insects effectively suppresses the pest population and prevents the development of insecticide resistance.

This technology is called gene drive and allows you to quickly spread a human-modified gene to animals or plants. Scientists also want to use this method to reduce or destroy the population of malaria mosquitoes by reducing their fertility.

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