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Debug Fresno; why are the released mosquitos said to be sterile?

Debug Fresno; why are the released mosquitos said to be sterile?


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I saw in the news that Verily Life Sciences will participate in an experimental release of sterile male aedes aegypti mosquitos in Fresno, California. Aedes aegypti is considered an invasive species in California, and can be a vector for human disease including dengue fever, zika, and chikungunya (according to the video). See the Verily blog Debug Fresno, our first U.S. field study and/or the attached YouTube video Introducing Debug Fresno.

The released male mosquitos will carry a bacterium called wolbachia, which when transferred to the female during mating will prevent eggs laid by the female from hatching. Wobachia presence, parasitism and mutualism with insects is widespread, and Wikipedia's article on it even includes a section on applications to human-related infections.

Question: Are the males said to be sterile because of the bacteria which results in nonviable eggs, or are they also incidentally sterile in addition to being vectors for the wolbachia bacteria (and eggs were presumably fertilized by other matings)?


Males are effective sterilization vectors

You can think of male mosquitos as fertile only in theory. Any mating of these mosquitos will generate no offspring whatsoever, so they are effective sterile and they spread this characteristic to females.

The bacteria makes they sterile in the end, the same way any disease in others cases.


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