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We travel across the globe and meet the people behind the most fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Every other Sunday at 8.40 pm.

DOWN TO EARTH

DOWN TO EARTH

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

2015-02-15 carbon emissions

Forests worth more alive than dead

We are Down to Earth in Peru on a police patrol to La Pampa, a wasteland on the outskirts of the Amazon. In the last six years 50,000 hectares of rainforest have been obliterated...

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2014-11-16 Mexico

Drought emergency

After one of the driest periods in history, 2014 is on track to be the hottest since records began. How do we adapt to these extreme climate conditions which may be here to stay ?

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2015-01-18 carbon emissions

Hydrogen, fuel of the future?

Is the universe's most abundant element the best alternative to petrol? As Toyota rolls out its first hydrogen fuel cell car, the Down to Earth team explores how this technology...

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2014-10-19 carbon emissions

Climate therapy

Greenhouse gas emissions are rising at the fastest rate in three decades. Meteorologists warn the world is running out of time. In this episode, the Down to Earth team explores...

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2014-09-21 environment

Global warming: A drowning planet

Rising sea levels are an inevitable consequence of global warming. Scientific research indicates that sea levels worldwide have been rising at a rate of 0.14 inches (3.5...

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