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We meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 7.20 pm. You can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2013-07-15

Brazil's 'mutant' mosquitoes attack disease

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in Brazil over the next few months under an ambitious approach to tackle dengue fever, the world's fastest spreading tropical disease. Scientists have added a gene to the dengue-spreading insect which renders it capable of destroying its own species.

This week the Down to Earth team visits Jacobina in the north east of Brazil, the first city in the world to trial this measure on a large scale.

The insects are bred in a nearby ‘mosquito factory’ where they’re fed animal blood and antibiotics before being unleashed as adults. An earlier pilot study showed that the wild population decreased by 85 percent in an area where GM mosquitoes were released. While Brazil is no stranger to food biotechnology, genetically modified animals are relatively new. Opponents warn that not enough tests have been done to measure the long term consequences of these mosquitoes on the ecosystem.

By Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Emilie COCHAUD , Juliette LACHARNAY

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Archives

2017-02-15 environment

DIY: Zero Waste

Imagine a world without trash or landfills. Every year, 1.3 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste are thrown away around the world - and that number is expected to...

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2017-01-31 environment

Making the ultimate sacrifice for the planet

All over the planet, environmental activists put their lives on the line - to save a tree, stop the construction of a dam or an airport. In 2015, 185 environmental activists were...

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2017-01-23 France

France's nuclear strategy: Full speed ahead, for now

Built in 1977, France's oldest nuclear plant should never have celebrated its 40th birthday. François Hollande promised voters and his Green party allies that if elected, he...

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2016-07-14 women

Women and work: Why parity could add trillions to global growth

The world is a better place for women and girls in 2016 than even a decade ago. But that's not the case for everyone, and certainly not everywhere. Access to job opportunities is...

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2016-07-01 environment

Extinction crisis: Saving the planet's species from an irreversible fate

Species are disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs' demise. Scientists are calling it the sixth mass extinction and it's largely driven by man. This week the...

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