25 Nov 2015

Hopes held for genetic control of fruit fly

12:39 pm on 25 November 2015

Scientists in Western Australia are to trial the use of genetically-modified Mediterranean fruit flies to try to curb their breeding.

China banned New Zealand fruit for a year after an incursion by that type of fruit fly in Auckland in 1996.

The fly is one of the world's most destructive fruit pests and is known to attack more than 250 different fruits and vegetables.

Western Australia's Department of Agriculture and Food is going to use an imported fly that includes a self-limiting gene.

Male fruit flies modified in this way pass the gene onto female offspring which don't grow old enough to lay eggs.

The flies will be kept in an approved laboratory, and the trial will be subject to quarantine conditions and other regulations.