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Scientists Use a Virus to Control House Flies

Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service’s Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville, Florida have found a promising biological control agent—-salivary gland hypertrophy virus (SGHV). Once infected with the virus, female flies do not produce eggs, and male flies do not mate.

“The salivary glands become huge, ovaries remain small, and the fly can never lay any eggs,” said Chris Geden, one of the scientists working on this. “The virus hijacks the fly’s protein-manufacturing control system. All the protein that would normally go into the ovaries to develop a fly’s eggs is diverted to produce virus particles.”

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