I couldn't attend the annual BIO convention this year, but as I was looking through the massive agenda for the show in San Diego, one presentation that caught my eye was from Oxitec
, a U.K. based biotech company. What usually makes the headlines are new ways to treat disease, but Oxitec is using genomics tools to combat the disease-carrying Aedes aegypt
i, or yellow fever mosquito, before it can do any harm.
And they are doing it by releasing even more mosquitoes. Male mosquitoes that are self limiting, which means they breed and pass on a gene which prevents their offspring from reaching adulthood. The company has released 180 million of these special mosquitoes and have achieved significant reductions in the mosquito population in the affected areas.
Derric Nimmo is a Principal Scientist at Oxitec and by the time I tracked him down he had left BIO 2017 and was back home n England. Here is our conversation.