Product with a bite

Published: Monday 31 March 2003

-- (Credit: USDA)Southern Mexico's Chiapas state boasts of a bizarre export: radiated flesh-eating flies. Chiapas' capital, Tuxtla Gutierrez, is home to an unusual screwworm factory which breeds millions of insects notorious for burrowing into human or animal flesh.

In the 1950s us scientists first adopted the method of sterilising the dangerous screwworm flies by exposing them to radiation. Since the females reproduce only once, they remain barren if they mate with a sterile partner. The technique wiped out the bug in the us and Mexico. Today, the fly-producing factory in Mexico exports its products to Panama and Jamaica.

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