Each year, mosquitos kill roughly 830,000 humans worldwide, making them the most deadly animal on earth. Most of these deaths are linked to malaria, which is transmitted via mosquito bites. A recent Business Insider article noted that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has granted $4.1 million to combat the spread of malaria, which is on the rise again after decades of decline.
The initiative is part of the Gates’ plan to eradicate malaria “within a generation.” To do so, they’ve teamed up with UK-based Oxitec to genetically engineer male mosquitos. Once released into the wild they’ll mate with female mosquitos and pass on a “self-limiting” gene that kills off future generations of female mosquitos before they mature to the stage where they’re capable of biting (only female mosquitos bite).