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    WELLINGTON, June 16 (Xinhua) — Pests like mice and wasps may one day be eradicated using a new technique which scientists have just proven in the laboratory on fruit flies Cheap Danilo D’Ambrosio Jersey , according to a study released on Friday.

    Prof. Neil Gemmell, head of University of Otago’s Department of Anatomy, said the “Trojan Female Technique” — in which females pass on genes that make male offspring infertile — offers pest-control advantages that are likely to help as New Zealand strives to reach the government’s Predator Free 2050 goal.

    In a research paper published by eLife, Gemmell and co-authors reported their success in making their theory about Trojan female fruit flies a reality in the lab.

    “This is a world-first proof-of-concept and we need to test the general applicability of this approach more widely,” Gemmell said, adding that the technique uses naturally occurring mutations in mitochondrial DNA that affect male Cheap Daniele Padelli Jersey , but not female, fertility and fitness.

    Mitochondria are considered the “power generators” of a cell and turn oxygen and nutrients into chemical energy which runs the cell’s metabolic activities. “The essence of our idea is to use these mitochondrial mutations to produce continuous, self-sustaining biological control, he said.

    “What we discovered some years back is that, as a by-product of the maternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA, mutations that affect only males can occur quite commonly in populations Cheap Dalbert Henrique Jersey , potentially contributing to fertility issues in some populations,” he said.

    “Our idea turns this problem around. If these mutations can affect population viability, we wondered if they might be turned into a tool that has the potential to control and even eradicate pests, Gemmell said.

    Their study showed that population reduction, albeit at this stage quite modest, can be achieved in laboratory-raised fruit flies Cheap Cristian Ansaldi Jersey , and broadening this technique to introduce Trojan females into wasp and pasture weevil populations is under way.

    While there are many tools to control pest populations, this might be an important part of a growing arsenal, and around New Zealand there is a great deal of interest in this approach as a way to control rats, possums and stoats as part of the Predator Free 2050 goal, Gemmell said.

    Pests are estimated to cost New Zealand about 3.3 billion NZ dollars (2.4 billion U.S. dollars) a year through lost productivity and cause profound damage to native fauna and flora. “The implications globally are even larger, particularly when insect-borne diseases Cheap Borja Valero Jersey , like malaria, are considered,” he said.

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