Genetically Modified Screwworm Flies May Enhance Sterile Insect Technique


Since the 1950s, the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) has been used to control screwworm flies and other insects. This technique currently involves irradiating male and female insects to make them sterile, and then releasing them to mate with fertile insects. Now an article published in the journal BMC Biology suggests that populations of New World […]

Researchers Raise Maggots on Chicken Blood to Save Darwin’s Finches


By Meredith Swett Walker In 1676, the great scientist Isaac Newton (of gravity fame) wrote a letter to another scientific titan, Robert Hooke (who had coined the biological term “cell”), in which he humbly stated, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Even in using that line he was […]

Infrared Photography Shows Tsetse Fly Development from Pupa to Adult


By Ed Ricciuti Researchers employing near infrared still photographs and time-lapse video have peered into the pupa of the living tsetse fly and for the first time have watched its development unfold from its start as a larva to its completion and emergence as an adult. The research is described in the Journal of Insect […]

Edward Knipling and Raymond Bushland Win Award for the Sterile Insect Technique


Two prominent members of the Entomological Society of America were posthumously selected as winners of the Golden Goose Award, which honors scientists whose federally funded work may have been considered silly, odd, or obscure when first conducted but has resulted in significant benefits to society. Dr. Edward F. Knipling and Dr. Raymond C. Bushland are […]

A New Pesticide-Free Way to Control Diamondback Moths


An article in the in the journal BioMed Central Biology describes a new pesticide-free and environmentally-friendly way to control diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella) with a “self-limiting gene.” The DBM is an invasive species and is a serious pest of cabbages, kale, canola and other crucifer crops around the world. The self-limiting gene technique, developed by […]

New Approach to Sterilizing Fruit Flies


The sterile insect technique, or SIT, has been used for decades to control insects such as the Mediterranean fruit fly. Basically, insects are exposed to radiation, which makes them sterile, and then they’re released into the wild to mate. However, since they’re sterile, no viable offspring are produced. Now a new method of sterilization — […]

X-rays Can be Used to Sterilize Mosquitoes


Since the 1950s, scientists have used radiation to sterilize insects, which are then released into the wild to mate, but no offspring are produced. Known as the sterile insect technique (SIT), this insect-control method has traditionally relied on gamma rays to sterilize the insects. However, due to concerns about terrorism, gamma-ray irradiators have become increasingly […]

Low-oxygen Environment Increases Sterile Insect Longevity


The sterile insect technique, or SIT, has been used for decades. Insects are irradiated so they become sterile, and then they’re released into the wild where they find mates. However, since they are sterile, there are no offspring, thus trimming the population and the threat to agricultural crops. The technique has been used effectively against […]

Panama Considers Sterilizing Mosquitoes to Combat Dengue

Aedes aegypti mosquito

Weeks after Panama’s Health Minister, Javier Diaz, declared that the country was experiencing a “dengue epidemic,” Panama approved the evaluation of a novel tool to combat the dengue mosquito. It involves mass-rearing large numbers of male mosquitoes that are genetically modified so that their offspring cannot reproduce, which reduces the population. Panama is collaborating with […]