What Happened to the Mosquitoes in Fresno?
10.15.2021 - By Unsung Science
Mosquitoes are the deadliest creatures on earth; they kill 500,000 people a year—and as the planet warms, more species are spreading North from the tropics. In 2013, a nasty new type, called Aedes Aegypti, arrived in Fresno, California. But traditional tactics, like spraying insecticide and genetic modification, have ugly side effects. So one genius programmer from Google thought up a better solution—that doesn’t involve insecticide; doesn’t mess around with genes; doesn’t require irradiating; makes it impossible for the mosquitoes to develop resistance; can’t affect any other species; and costs less than what governments spend now on treating their citizens for Dengue fever. A lot was at stake in the Fresno experiment; if it worked, the technique could save lives around the world. (Spoiler: It worked.)
Guests: Linus Upson, VP of Engineering at Verily. Leslie Vosshall, professor of neuroscience at Rockefeller University. Jodi Holeman, Fresno Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District. Peter Massaro, Google director of automation. Jacob Crawford, senior scientist, Verily.