Reducing Female Mosquito Ratio - A Possible Cure for Yellow Fever, Dengue and Chikungunya?

Diseases like yellow fever, dengue, and Chikungunya are posing deadly threats to people of many countries across the globe. Continuous research is going on to find the best possible cure. One such recent development and research has  identified a specific gene which is responsible for sex determination in mosquitoes and is responsible to transmit viruses all three diseases namely yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya. It is a known fact that only female mosquitoes bite because they require blood for developing eggs. Thus, these researchers believe that if the ratio of males to females is higher, it will help to reduce the transmission of these diseases. In a study by experts, the scientists have identified a male-determining genetic switch called Nix in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that causes the difference between males and females. These master switches often exist in in genomic black holes, which is why none had been found in mosquitoes or other insects before. "Nix provides us with exciting opportunities to harness mosquito sex in the fight against infectious diseases because maleness is the ultimate disease-refractory trait," said Zhijian Jake Tu, a professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate. In order to increase the ratio of male mosquitoes, the scientists injected Nix into mosquito embryos and observed that more than two-thirds of the female mosquitoes developed male testes and genitals. When this gene was removed, the process was reversed and the male mosquitoes developed female genitals. The study provides the basis for developing mosquito control plan by converting females into harmless males or selectively eliminating deadly females."We're not there yet, but the ultimate goal is to be able to establish transgenic lines that express Nix in genetic females to convert them to harmless males," said Zach Adelman, an associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Fralin Life Science affiliate. Thus detailed research reports with different angles and opinions on the reducing the transmission of yellow fever, dengue, and Chikungunya viruses will surely help meet the objective of complete eradication of these diseases in future. For more such insights on Dengue, Chikungunya and other MoA and indications pipeline, visit .