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Mosquito trial in dengue fever battle

Oxford, England -- A field trial in the Caribbean using genetically altered mosquitoes to combat the spread of dengue fever has been a success, researchers say.

The use of the genetically modified insects to sabotage wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread the viral fever, took place on the island of Grand Cayman, NewScientist.com reported.

By the end of the six-month trial on a 40-acre plot, populations of the native insects had plummeted, researchers said.

"It's a proof of principle, that it works," says Angela Harris of the Grand Cayman Mosquito Control and Research Unit.

The MCRU conducted the trial with U.K. company Oxitec that bred the modified mosquitoes.

'Natural' mosquito repellent identified

Haifa -- Compounds released by natural predators of mosquitoes could be an ecologically safe weapon in the battle against the disease-carrying insects, scientists say.

Researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel have chemically identified the compounds released by the aquatic predators that are sensed as a warning signal by egg-laying mosquitoes, a university release said Monday.

Releasing these natural chemicals into mosquito breeding sites could cause the mosquitoes to avoid laying their eggs there, the researchers said.

Many prey species can detect predators chemically and take various actions to avoid being eaten or avoid having their young eaten, but the chemical composition of the compounds has been elusive, scientists said.

New way found to control mosquitoes

Ithaca -- U.S. scientists say they've discovered a protein that might lead to the development of insecticides that can disrupt a mosquito's renal system.

Cornell University scientists led by Professor Klaus Beyenbach said their experiments focused on Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit dengue and yellow fever. The mosquitoes pick up diseases while feeding on infected hosts and then infect new hosts when they feed again. Currently, no vaccine or treatment protects against dengue, so the only way to stop its spread is by controlling mosquitoes.