A company involved in creating genetically modified mosquitos has another project nearing outdoor testing. The U.K.-based Oxitec has applied to release genetically modified olive fruit flies under netted olive trees in Spain, the BBC reports. The flies are a major pest to olive crops.
The idea is that the flies, all male, will mate with wild olive fruit flies. Any female flies produced from such a union will die as maggots, while any male offspring will carry the deadly gene, just as their fathers did. Over time, this should bring down local olive fruit fly population dramatically.
In a study done in cages, weekly releases of the Oxitec flies crashed the fly population.
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