On July 14, 2017, Google’s sister company, Verily, began a staggered release of 20 million bacteria-infected male mosquitoes in central California, as a pet-project of their parent company Alphabet’s life science’s division. The goal is to minimize a specific species of mosquito—known as the Aedes aegypti—which carries certain dangerous diseases such as Zika virus, yellow fever, and dengue fever. While these diseases do not currently threaten California residents, climate shifts are causing scientists to take preventative measures now.
The History of the Mosquito Problem
Mosquitoes are more deadly to humans than all other animals combined because the diseases they carry sicken hundreds of millions annually. The mosquito known as Aedes aegypti first appeared in California’s Central Valley during 2013. Since that time, its population has rapidly adapted, particularly in Fresno County.