GETTYGoogle's healthcare arm is all set to release twenty million sterile male mosquitoes into the wild
The bizarre move is actually a good thing according to scientists, with the infected sterile pests being used to fight diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya - a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted to humans.
The mass pest release is part of the Debug Project - the biggest US study to set free mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a common reproductive parasite.
According to boffins, the idea is that the infected mosquitoes will try to mate with wild females, but the eggs laid will not hatch, leading to an overall decline in the mosquito population over time.Related articles
Researchers from Verily will team up with MosquitoMate – a private biotechnology company – and Fresno County’s mosquito control services, Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District (CMAD), to compare the adult population density and number of eggs hatched to measure any changes.
The automated mass mosquito rearing has seen scientists at Verily sorting them by sex, before using algorithms to control on-the-ground devices