According to a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE, a new UC Riverside study suggests that the protein responsible for activating mosquito sperm may be turned off, preventing them from swimming to or fertilizing eggs. The research could help control populations of Culex mosquitoes, a common house mosquito that transmits tumescent encephalitis and West Nile virus. The team previously determined that sperm require calcium to fuel movement as they enter the reproductive tract, and analysis of the calcium channel protein provides a way to control mosquitoes that is more environmentally friendly than other methods that may have unintended toxic effects. The key word is control, not eradication. Even if immobilized sperm is 100% effective on treated mosquitoes, it is impossible and not advisable to kill all mosquitoes. The technique would alter the ratio of fertile to sterile males in a given mosquito population, rather than eradicating them all.
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