Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sex-Crazed Bugs Unleashed in Israel

One of the great challenges of modern agriculture is how to use technology to mass produce crops while sparing consumers from the harmful chemicals and byproducts of the agricultural process. Though meant to kill harmful insects, pesticides carry a very serious risk to the environment.

While studies have shown that mankind is developing cancer and other diseases at a higher rate due to exposure to pesticides, the crop-killing vermin are only becoming more immune to its effects. At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, researchers have discovered a way to safely eliminate insects without the need for harmful chemicals.

Professor Boaz Yuval at the university’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Food, Agriculture and the Environment believes that sex is the key.

If you can sterilize male insects before they copulate with females, these females will be unable to lay eggs. The problem, however, is that males who are sterilized also lose their sex drive, leaving the females to mate with male insects who are not sterilized.

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created a special, high protein, bacteria-enhanced “breakfast of champions” to sterilize males. By greatly increasing their sex drive and sexual performance, females spend all of their time with these Casanova sex-crazed males and never are able to lay eggs of their own.

While original applications of this research will be for plant and animal pests, many are looking to see how this work can be applied to stop the spread of organisms carrying human diseases.