Google's Verily robots release millions of mosquitos in California


Verily's male mosquitoes were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, which is harmless to humans, but when they mate with and infect their female counterparts, it makes their eggs unable to produce offspring. The study would be conducted by Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, MosquitoMate, and Verily, and this video is meant to inform residents of the possible activities of this study. This initiative, dubbed the "Debug Project", is actually part of public health effort to fight the very mosquito populations that spread nasty scourges like the deformity-causing Zika virus.

Aedes aegypti was first spotted in central California in 2013.

Mosquitoes are the world's deadliest animals, mainly because they carry malaria, Zika and other diseases that devastate developing countries.

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The same program is now in effect in the Florida Keys, where officials are bringing in 40,000 mosquitoes a week from Kentucky - each infected with the Wolbachia bacteria as well - to fight the population.

To tackle the issue, Verily will release at least one million sterile male mosquitos each week in Fresno.

According to media reports, the mosquitoes are not genetically-modified.

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The release process will be done through vans, software algorithms, and on-the-ground release devices that will evenly distribute the mosquitoes in a targeted fashion. And, as a bonus, these male mosquitoes in question don't actually bite (likely a huge source of relief for Fresno-area residents who are about to be inundated with the new mosquito pool).

Debug Fresno will take place over a 20-week period in two neighborhoods each approximately 300 acres in size.

"Field studies allow us to test our discoveries and technologies in challenging, real-world conditions and collect the necessary evidence to bring them to a broader scale", Verily says.

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The Debug Project will be the biggest USA study to set free mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a common reproductive parasite.