Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Size Matters for Mosquitos and Malaria

By C. Paula de los Angeles

In reading about malaria, I came across an interesting blog that proposed controlling this infectious disease with genetically engineered mosquitos that had resistance to malaria. Essentially, these mosquitos would mate with wild ones and eventually spread resistance. In order for this to work, these genetically engineered mosquitos would have to be more attractive to the wild females than the wild males (sexual selection). But is it the mosquito of biggest size that always win? The answer appears to be no. In an experiment that varied mosquito size by controlling their diet, it was found that the middle-sized mosquitos were the most successful. This experiment was ideal because it was carried out in an isolated, malaria-filled part of Tanzania, meaning this public health policy could realistically be implemented. What a great way to use sexual selection to cure infectious disease!

BLOG: http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/05/size_matters_for_mosquitoes_but_mediumsized_males_do_better.php
Reference: NGHABI, K., HUHO, B., NKWENGULILA, G., KILLEEN, G., KNOLS, B., FERGUSON, H. (2008). Sexual selection in mosquito swarms: may the best man lose?. Animal Behaviour

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