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Multiple Ways of Attack

There are a handful of different approaches to combat mosquitos to fight the dengue and Zika viruses, and public and private organizations are turning to different methods, MIT's Technology Review reports.

The nonprofit Eliminate Dengue has received $18 million to release mosquitos infected with the bacteria Wolbachia, which renders the mosquito unable to pass to the viruses, in Rio de Janeiro and in Medellín, Colombia. The aim is for these Wolbachia-infected mosquitos to replace the current population. This approach, Tech Review says, is estimated to cost about $1 per person.

Meanwhile, the biotech company Oxitec is instead altering male mosquitos' genes to make them sterile and thus interrupt the spread of disease by causing the local population to decline in numbers. This method, which requires multiple releases, costs some $7.50 per person per year.

Other organizations are pursuing other ways, too, Tech Review says. For instance, the Gates Foundation's Target Malaria is investigating gene drives and Project Debug at Verily is researching using Wolbachia to make sterile males

"We think mosquito suppression has a role, and that there is a lot of room to try different things," Nigel Snoad from Verily tells Tech Review.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.