No doubt mosquitoes represented a great nuisance during the summer; between common mosquitoes and tiger mosquitoes we are subject to their stings practically 24 hours a day.

How many times have we asked ourselves: can there be a world without mosquitoes?

This question could be answered by the scientific study carried out by Andrea Cristanti, an Italian scientist at Imperial College London.

This research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Target Malaria project, aims to combat the spread of this disease through the fight against its vector par excellence and is based on a modification of the genetic heritage of female mosquitoes. The modification in question would be able to block their fertility and completely eliminate the species within 7-11 generations.

Specifically, researchers have created a gene that causes sterility and which is transmitted to 99% of the next generation of mosquitoes, until its reproduction is definitively blocked.

From the scientific point of view, therefore, the elimination of mosquitoes is possible, but without any doubt it would be a heavy interference in the natural environment by man, which could give rise to unpredictable consequences.

On the one hand, it is true that the mosquito is an annoying insect and that with its bites it is able to transmit serious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and the dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses: these are all diseases which, although at our latitudes they are not a problem, in various countries in the south of the world, first and foremost Africa, claim thousands of victims every year. The elimination of mosquitoes, or a drastic reduction in the population, would lead to important improvements in terms of their spread.

But what would be the repercussions in the animal world?

Such action would certainly lead to significant and above all unpredictable changes in this world.

Take for example the bat, a mammal that feeds almost exclusively on mosquitoes and is able to eat up to 2000 mosquitoes in a single night. Its diet would be severely compromised and its very survival would be put at risk.

Moreover, the mosquito, theoretically, could be replaced in the ecosystem by another insect, which could, paradoxically, have even a worse relationship with man.

In nature, in fact, every element is part of a precise mechanism and such a drastic change could very probably mean some imbalance in a delicate and above all centuries-old balance.

Is it really possible then a world without mosquitoes?

A complex question that gives rise to further questions from an environmental, social and ethical point of view and which is probably destined to remain unanswered.

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