Why Google's Verily Is Unleashing 20 Million Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes in Fresno

Science								Image Source Reuters						
																	20 million mosquitoes to invade California in bug fight					

Science Image Source Reuters 20 million mosquitoes to invade California in bug fight FoxNews.c

Verily, the life sciences arm of Google's parent company, Alphabet, has created a robot that raises about one million mosquitoes every week in an automated lab.

With the help of scientists, engineers, and Verily's global partners, the Debug Project aims to propagate bacteria-infected mosquitoes in hopes of eventually minimizing, if not completely eradicating, the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

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Could messing with the mosquito population have some unforeseen disastrous consequences? Verily's Debug Project is the only plausible method to get rid of the potential threat by combating Zika-carrying mosquitos.

Last October, Verily announced its initiative to fight mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus.

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The mosquitoes being released around Fresno, Calif., are males altered with the help of a naturally occurring bacterium; when they mate with females in the wild, their resulting eggs are duds. The first groups of 20 million sterilized mosquitoes have already been released in Fresno County, California. And, as a bonus, these male mosquitoes in question don't actually bite (likely a huge source of relief for Fresno-area residents who are about to be inundated with the new mosquito pool).

Verily plans to release about 1 million mosquitoes a week over a 20-week period in two 300-acre neighborhoods in the Fresno area - the largest USA release to date of mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria. That means that, over a long enough period of time, the Aedes aegypti population is expected to decline (hopefully reducing Zika incidence and risk in the process).

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Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. "I understand that the quota has been fulfilled for this year". Bishop said she would be "taken aback" if Trump said something similar to her.

No word from the company on how much something like this will cost, but Linus Upson, an engineer on the team releasing the mosquitoes, told MIT Technology Review the company planned to do something similar in Australia next.

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