Wolbachia Method: Mosquito Program

Context: A continuous surge in the cases of dengue disease is a worldwide concern. Scientists claim that the Wolbachia Method can help curb the spread of dengue by 77%.

Wolbachia Method

  • Wolbachia is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in many arthropods, including insects. It has evolved to naturally infect these insects and manipulate their reproductive biology. 
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  • Wolbachia method does not involve genetic modification of the target insect species itself. It is considered a form of biological control rather than genetic engineering.
    • In this method, naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria can be introduced into male population by infecting insects in a laboratory setting and then releasing them into the wild.
    • When these Wolbachia-infected insects male mate with females that are not infected with the same strain of Wolbachia, these bacteria are passed on to their offspring through the normal reproductive process and their offspring are less likely to survive or reproduce. 
  • Since the method does not suppress mosquito populations or involve genetic modification, it is safe for humans, animals and the environment.

Q. Consider the following statements with reference to Wolbachia method:

    1. Wolbachia is a type of viral strain that is commonly found in many arthropods.
    2. It is a genetic engineering method used to control viral disease spread by mosquitoes.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d) 

UPSC 2023

Q. ‘Wolbachia method’ is sometimes talked about with reference to which one of the following?

(a)    Controlling the viral diseases spread by mosquitoes

(b)    Converting crop residues into packing material

(c)    Producing biodegradable plastics

(d)    Producing biochar from thermo-chemical conversion of biomass

Answer: (a) 

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