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Mandi, HP, Oct 26 — In a groundbreaking collaborative effort between researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi and the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine in Bengaluru, the biochemical processes enabling the survival and rejuvenation of Dengue mosquito eggs under harsh conditions have been unveiled.

Published in the journal PLOS Biology, the research sheds light on the molecular intricacies behind the desiccation tolerance and post-rehydration survival of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the carriers of Dengue and Zika viruses.

Despite the eggs’ ability to endure extended periods without water, the specific metabolic changes required for survival during dehydration and rehydration were previously unknown. The collaborative team, led by Dr. Baskar Bakthavachalu from IIT Mandi, conducted innovative experiments, revealing that developing larvae undergo specific metabolic changes, including increased production of polyamines, crucial for embryo survival in desiccated conditions.

Dr. Bakthavachalu explained, “Our understanding of this fundamental process remains limited. Mosquito eggs, facing drying conditions, enter an altered metabolic state to significantly increase the production of polyamines, which play a crucial role in enabling the embryos to withstand the damage caused by water loss.”

The implications of this research extend to more effective vector control measures against mosquito-borne diseases. Disrupting the desiccation tolerance of mosquito eggs could lead to a significant reduction in mosquito populations and disease transmission. The findings may also contribute to preventing mosquito resurgence following monsoon rains, traditionally associated with increased disease transmission risks.

Beyond disease control, the research has potential applications in agriculture. Similar survival mechanisms exist in agricultural insect pests, hinting at potential solutions for agricultural challenges. The deciphering of these biochemical processes may pave the way for eco-friendly, targeted pest control measures, ensuring sustainable agricultural practices.