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Scientists Are Using Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight the Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus

Trials show cuts in the wild mosquito population of as much as 90 percent.

Photo via Wikipedia (public domain)

As the Zika virus begins its spread in the United States, a British company is looking into genetically engineered mosquitoes to impede the outbreak.


NPR reports that Oxitec, a biotechnical insect control company, has developed a line of modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species that carries the Zika virus as well as dengue fever and chikungunya. The company has altered male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes so that when they mate, the females lay eggs that produce larvae that die before adulthood. Through this program, Oxitec has been able to cut the mosquito population by as much as 90 percent in Brazil and other countries over the past decade.

The virus was first detected in Brazil in May 2015 and has since spread to 22 more countries in South and Central America, prompting the CDC to issue a travel alert for people visiting the affected regions. Zika is transmitted through mosquito bites, but a few cases suggest it can also be sexually transmitted.

Zika causes fever-like symptoms and poses a threat especially to pregnant women—the infection has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect in which infants are born with an abnormally small skull. The pathogen has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition that can cause paralysis.

While Oxitec is waiting for FDA approval to begin conducting trials in the Florida Keys, the company reports an 82 percent cut in wild mosquito larvae in Piracicaba, a neighboring city of São Paulo, Brazil. Several years ago, Oxitec and Key West officials agreed to a similar program during a dengue outbreak.

There have been several confirmed cases of the Zika virus in New York, Florida, Texas, and California. All were found in U.S. residents returning overseas from Zika-affected countries.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

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