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Radiation-bacteria combo nearly wipes out Asian tiger mosquitoes on two islands

If your mosquito repellent hasn’t been working this summer, have you tried infecting the blood suckers with bacteria or exposing them to radiation? An international team of researchers did just that, nearly eradicating Asian tiger mosquitoes on two islands in Guangzhou, China, Nature reports. Researchers exposed lab-raised mosquitoes to a low level of radiation that sterilized females; they then injected males with a bacterium (Wolbachia pipientis) known to weaken embryos after reproduction. After releasing both sets of mosquitoes into the wild, researchers found a 94% reduction in wild adult females, they report this week in Nature. Those findings suggest the new method could help eradicate the invasive mosquito, which carries both dengue and Zika virus.

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