Fruit flies' future looks bleak due to genetic science

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Fruit flies' future looks bleak due to genetic science

Mangoes exporters could be in for an easier time with the advent of new genetic technology to combat fruit fly infestations, website reported.

Currently, Australia, Japan and the U.S. have strict phytosanitary and quarantine measures for the fruit because of their susceptibility to the insects.

Experts from Oxford University in the U.K. discovered an irradiation technique that sterilizes male insects so when they mate with wild females their offspring die.

Oxitec is developing the technology for worldwide use and has collaborated with the Pasteur Institute, the Malaysian Ministry of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Moscamed Brazil and the Cayman Islands Mosquito Research and Control Unit to test the technique.

The sterile insect technique (SIT) rears millions of sterile insects and releases them over a wide area to target pests.

Oxitec said the screw-worm was eradicated in 16 states in the U.S. and Central America through SIT.

SIT is species-specific, the company added, and is compatible with the integrated pest management (IPM) practised all over the globe, particularly in the Philippines.

Oxitec said the system is actually a chemical-free pest control method that targets specific species and can be employed over a large area with the net effect of eradicating pests.


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