Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

China censors Hong Kong protests on social media

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Islamic State group crackdown

Read more

DEBATE

Modi in America: India's Prime Minister on Triumphant US Tour

Read more

DEBATE

Hong Kong Protests: Pro-democracy Movement Gets Global Support

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Music Show: Prince goes funk, rock and sci-fi

Read more

FOCUS

Egypt's push against atheism and 'non-believers'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dealing with jihadism: Does Europe have a plan?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Colombian villagers caught between soldiers and guerrilla fighters, and a pilot whale massacre in the Faroe islands

Read more

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

COMMENT(S)

Archives

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...

Read more

2014-06-22 water

Microplastics: The planet's tiny threat

Tiny plastic particles, barely visible, are infecting the world's sea and oceans, where they're being eaten by fish and other aquatic species before making their way up the food...

Read more

2014-06-09 technology

Biomimicry: Hacking nature

Biomimicry is the science of mimicking life. Have millions of years of evolution churned out all the answers?

Read more

2014-05-25 technology

Japan: Robots that care

This week, Down to Earth explores Japan's efforts to embrace robots to fill the gap left by a growing shortage of manpower.It's no secret that Japan is facing a demographic...

Read more

2014-05-11 Sustainable development

Japan: Fukushima fallout

It's more than three years since an earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant and authorities are still battling to contain the fallout.

Read more