Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Scientists believe it may be possible to combat malaria by interfering with the sex lives of the mosquitoes which spread the disease
The Imperial College London study is published in the journal PLoS Biology.In Africa - Anopheles gambiae - species of mosquito responsible for the transmission of malariaThese insects mate once in their lifetime, so disrupting the reproductive process offers a good way of dramatically reducing their numbers. The male transfers sperm to the female followed by a coagulated mass of proteins and seminal fluids known as a mating plug.The insects can only mate successfully if the male is able to seal his sperm inside the female using a "mating plug". Without the plug, fertilisation cannot occur, and the animals cannot reproduce.