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France’s Camargue region and its herdsmen

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We travel to meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 6.10 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

2016-06-10 drones

Drones to the rescue: How pilotless aircraft are saving lives

Historically known for taking lives, drones are now emerging as one of the most promising tools for health and emergency services.

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2016-05-27 Sustainable development

Plastic planet: Using today's resources tomorrow

This week Down to Earth explores the alarming rate in which plastic has plastered the planet. Since it was invented a century ago the petroleum-based material has invaded all...

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2016-05-13 Senegal

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2016-05-02 fashion

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Unlike other industries, the price of clothing has gone down over the last few decades, but at what cost?

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2016-04-15 agriculture

Feeding the city: An urban food challenge

The world’s population is set to rise to 10 billion by 2050 and the large majority will live in cities. It means fewer resources to be shared among many. So how will we feed...

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