Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Video

How One Brazilian City Is Tackling Mosquitoes

The city of Piracicaba, Brazil is responding to the outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases by genetically altering their mosquito population.

To the human populations it coexists with, the Aedes aegypti mosquito continuously and ruthlessly spreads disease—most notably dengue fever and now Zika, too. After 100 years of using the same methods to battle these mosquitoes, the town of Piracicaba, Brazil, is finally turning to a new alternative. At a nearby facility run by Oxitec, biologists work to breed genetically altered Aedes mosquitoes, swatting away stray mosquitoes as they work. This new generation of mosquitoes has been modified to include a gene that prohibits their offspring from reaching adulthood. After being released from the Oxitec lab, these altered mosquitoes will mate, pass on their modified genes, and disable the next generation. Local mosquito populations will decline—and with them, the researchers hope, the spread of dengue and Zika.  

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.