Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ethiopia Is Using Radiation to Eradicate Tsetse Flies

Terzu Daya, the director the lab, explains how it works. “The purpose of radiation is to make them [tsetste flies] to be sterile," said Daya. "If you avoid further generation, so that the tsetse fly can be eradicated. The main secret behind this is that, once female flies mate with the male, she will not mate again in her life. That’s the advantage."

After the sterilization, a plane spreads thousands of non-productive tsetse flies every Wednesday in various parts of Ethiopia, especially along riverbed breeding grounds. So far, more than a million laboratory flies have been released. Now sterilized flies outnumber fertile flies, eight to one.

Thomas Cherenet, the director general of the Southern Tsetse Eradication Project, says the program is safe, effective and will not affect the delicate food chain balance.

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